Harrisburg’s collective patience has been exhausted.
Last week, a video went viral showing a pedestrian getting mowed down by an SUV as she ventured into the crosswalk at the intersection of Front and Herr streets.
Moreover, an epidemic of crashes continues along Forster Street from the bridge past 3rd Street. Up on Allison Hill, four pedestrians and a bicyclist have been killed on State Street over the past 18 months, according to the city.
What is the one thing these streets—Front, Forster and State—have in common? They are all state roads. In addition, they’ve all been widened over the years to accommodate the army of state workers who zip in and out of the capital city every day from the suburbs, as Harrisburg’s erstwhile neighborhood streets have been turned into multi-lane highways.
In other words, the commonwealth holds a unique responsibility for these roads and their safety. And it is failing that responsibility in the most profound and deadly way.
Over the past two years, TheBurg has written repeatedly about the dangers of Front, Forster and State streets. We’ve even offered suggestions on how to reduce speeds and improve safety on the Harvey Taylor Bridge and on Front and Forster streets. So far, nothing has happened.
This isn’t rocket science. Many other states and cities have implemented traffic-calming measures that include more signage, flashing lights and altered road services. Of course, better traffic enforcement also would help, as, currently, there is precious little.
We appeal to Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to make road safety a priority in Harrisburg. The state must act now before another person is injured or a life is lost. The carnage must end along the dangerous, deadly roads that the state controls within the city’s limits.
Lawrance Binda is editor-in-chief of TheBurg.