Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

What you need to know about city’s plans to repave 3rd Street

Mayor Eric Papenfuse and Andrew Duerr of Wallace Montgomery engineer firm review 3rd Street plans at yesterday's public meeting at the Broad Street Market.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse and Andrew Duerr of Wallace Montgomery engineering firm review 3rd Street plans at yesterday’s public meeting at the Broad Street Market.

Starting in April 2017, the city will be repaving 3rd Street and making improvements for pedestrians and drivers.

Three sections of 3rd Street will be repaved: From Chestnut Street north to State Street, from Forster Street north to Muench Street and from Maclay Street north to Seneca Street.

These sections of 3rd Street have not been repaved for at least 20 years, according to city Engineer Wayne Martin. Construction will skip parts of 3rd Street that have recently been repaved.

In addition to street paving, crews will be planting more than 150 trees, installing 150 sidewalk ramps and expanding sidewalks. The changes will ensure walkability for pedestrians, enhance the cityscape and update water infrastructure.

The construction will run from April to October 2017 and will finish in 2018. The planners have completed about 20 percent of the plans, according to Martin.

During lunchtime yesterday, engineers, landscape architects and planners pointed out the designs for 3rd Street on large swaths of paper. Curious residents asked questions and wrote suggestions on note cards.

“This is a good time to solicit public input,” he said.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse acknowledged that there will be growing pains during the construction phase. Parking will be restricted at points along 3rd Street and construction crews will work during select periods at night, Martin said.

“This will be a short term inconvenience with long-term benefit,” Martin said.

The city has not yet hired contractors for this work and does not have specific information about parking restrictions yet.

The multimillion-dollar project, a partnership between Harrisburg and Capital Region Water, is funded in part with a $6 million grant from PennDOT for infrastructure to support cars, buses, bikes and pedestrians.

A grant from Impact Harrisburg, a nonprofit established as part of the state-sponsored recovery plan, awarded to Capital Region Water and the city also supports the green infrastructure in this project. The city’s general fund has contributed $1 million over multiple years for this project, Martin said.

Pedestrian-heavy intersections where 3rd crosses with Verbeke and Walnut streets will have expanded sidewalk spaces. The new, ADA-complaint spaces will increase access for individuals with disabilities.

Planners are playing with ideas to make crossing safer for pedestrians. By increasing the area of sidewalks, pedestrians will have a shorter distance to cross in the road, said Andrew Duerr with project consultant Wallace Montgomery.

Walk signals will be timed to allow pedestrians to cross the street while motorists going the same direction still have a red light. By giving pedestrians an extra few seconds to cross, motorists turning left are more likely to notice the pedestrian.

Some intersections may include moments where the walk signals will allow pedestrians to cross from any direction.

The 1970s-era traffic signals will be upgraded as will the pedestrian crossing buttons, Duerr said.

Capital Region Water is working with landscape architects to install tree pits that double as a way to filter storm water. The tree pits will look like regular planted trees on the surface. Underground, stones or other organic material will be placed to absorb toxins

“It will look on the surface like a regular tree,” said Claire Maulhardt of Capital Region Water. Underground, however, will filter storm water runoff. Water will run through pockets of stone or another organic material before flowing back through the city’s combined sewage system.

Harrisburg will be joining the ranks of Lancaster and Philadelphia with this innovative water filtration system, Maulhardt said.

Papenfuse encourages property owners to make gas line or water infrastructure improvements during the time of the repaving project. Making such improvements will be easier and cheaper for property owners while the city is repaving the road, he said.

Author: Danielle Roth

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