If you walk or drive near the state Capitol, you may have noticed that big changes are afoot.
Today, workers were busy painting lines in front of the State Museum, where the parking configuration is changing from parallel to angled.
According to Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse, that change is a part of larger plans in the area.
“There are several components that are working together,” he said.
The city opted for front-in, angled parking in front of the museum for two reasons, Papenfuse said.
First, the city soon will install eight electric-car charging stations in front of the museum, funded by a $40,000 state Department of Environmental Protection grant. These charging stations will require vehicles to pull in front-wise.
Also, next year, the city will complete the sidewalk-widening project around the Capitol, extending it along N. 3rd between State and North streets. About eight years ago, the state widened a strip of concrete surrounding the Capitol along Walnut and N. 3rd streets, but stopped at State Street.
That sidewalk project will eliminate about nine parallel parking spaces. However, those nine spaces will be made up by the new angled configuration in front of the museum, which permits a greater density of parking, Papenfuse said.
The new parking configuration has removed the right-hand lane traveling north on N. 3rd Street just before Forster Street. Starting today, there are just two lanes on N. 3rd in that area: a center lane and a separate left-turn lane, which was first created about three years ago.
Farther down 3rd Street, the city has reduced the number of vehicle lanes from two to one from Walnut to Chestnut streets. It then took the left-hand lane to create a new bike lane.
Papenfuse said the bike lane was created as part of an east-west connector project that is designed to link the downtown with bike-friendly spaces as the Capital Area Greenbelt and Riverfront Park. He said the bike lane also should make 3rd Street more pedestrian-friendly.
“Hopefully, the city is becoming safer,” he said.