Harrisburg City officials outline safety upgrades to 6th Street corridor

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The City of Harrisburg has just finished work on North 6th Street near the Broad Street Market.

There’s a new traffic pattern with more parking and bike lanes.

It’s part of the mayor’s Vision Zero plan too eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries.

The new changes will not only help improve the safety of the area for those walking, driving, or biking, but also the students and parents picking up and dropping off at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School.

All it takes a new paint job on the ground of North 6th Street between Boas and Reily streets to make the city a bit safer.

“We wanted to make it safer to cross the street,” said Mayor Eric Papenfuse. “We wanted to add more parking for the neighborhood and the street was wide enough that we could add a bike lane, and we’ve sort of done all three of those things at once.”

As part of the 2nd Street two-way conversion study, the City of Harrisburg also studied the 6th Street corridor.

“I think there was something like 16 injury crashes in this segment of 6th Street in the five year period that we studied,” said City Engineer Wayne Martin.

That’s why the city decided to go from four lanes to three.

“During the school year they would actually close lanes, so it really only was two directions of travel during the school year anyway,” Martin said.

The city has suggested new pickup and dropoff patterns at Benjamin Franklin Elementary, which would keep students and staff even safer.

“It’s simply easier to cross the street. There are fewer lanes of traffic,” Papenfuse said. “The traffic’s been slowed down a little bit and I’m pleased to say the response has been very positive.”

The changes are especially well received by the bicycle community.

“I’m very, very pleased to see the progress of the bike routes and stuff like that and pedestrian and protective devices,” said Louis Searles, on the board of directors for the Harrisburg Bicycle Club.

“When an area’s more inviting to walking and biking, it’s a better place to live and a better place to work and better place to play,” said Dick Norford, treasurer of Bicycle South Central PA.

In addition to the permanent bike lanes, the City of Harrisburg is working with Susquehanna Township on a temporary bike lane stretching from the Broad Street Market all the way to Linglestown Road for one week in September.

It coincides with national Bike to Work Week Sept. 20-27.

“It can be a recreational bicycle ride, but we see that as a transportation corridor from the suburbs into the city,” Norford said.

Other projects to keep an eye on include the federal courthouse and state archives construction on North 6th Street.

“Those roads will be resurfaced. Curb lines are going to adjust a little bit with those projects, new sidewalks and that, so it makes a lot of sense to carry 6th Street up all the way to the city limits and beyond in Susquehanna Township,” Martin said.

Work on the 2nd Street conversion project is set to begin this fall.

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