Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Capital Ambition: State outlines major improvement plan for Paxton Creek, Market Street, Harrisburg station.

A rendering of the restored Market/Cameron street corridor after completion of improvements.

A restaurant and café in Harrisburg’s train station, a pedestrian bridge over the train tracks, a flood-controlled Paxton Creek.

Those are a few of the ambitious goals laid out in two reports released today by the state Department of Transportation, which is taking the lead on rehabilitating the blighted Market Street corridor just east of the Harrisburg Transportation Center–roughly from the train station to Cameron Street.

“These studies serve as a road map to help the city continue to develop as an attractive place to work and play,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said in a statement.

PennDOT’s first priority is rehabilitation of the train/bus station itself, as laid out in the report titled, “Harrisburg Transportation Center Transit Oriented Development Master Plan.”

That project includes removal of the large office space in the main lobby, the addition of an “open-concept café” in the lobby, new seating in the station concourse, the addition of a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, a new entry plaza from the lower-level Market Street entrance and the addition of office space on the upper floors.

According to Richards, work is expected to begin relatively soon, as the department has completed 90 percent of the design for the $15 million renovation and is now working with Amtrak on a construction schedule.

A map of a portion of central Harrisburg, with the study area highlighted.

The next priority is a massive flood control project designed to restrain, improve and restore Paxton Creek, as delineated in the “Paxton Creek Master Plan.”

The plan outlines steps to modify the channel size and make other improvements that would take 133 acres out of the 100-year flood plan and partially remove another 275 acres, making the area far more attractive for redevelopment. The plan also envisions enhancing the creek area with recreational paths and restoring it to a more natural environment.

PennDOT anticipates four to five years of preliminary work before construction on the project could begin. The estimated cost of the creek improvements is $60 to $90 million, with potential grants coming from the state’s Multimodal Fund, the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The transportation master plan envisions other projects, which include:

  • Streetscaping and façade enhancement, including new sidewalks, landscaping, street furniture, signage and utility and lighting poles.
  • A pedestrian bridge that would extend the station concourse over the railroad tracks, through the former Harrisburg central post office and into the redevelopment area.
  • Relocation of the intercity bus terminal from Market Street to the redevelopment area and expansion of the facility.
  • Development of the area near an east entrance to the station.
  • A new plaza on Market Street.

“These projects will provide exciting opportunities for development in the city of Harrisburg, and for enhancing the quality of life for our residents,” Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing our close collaboration with PennDOT on projects that will benefit not only Harrisburg residents but the entire region.”

PennDOT will hold a public meeting on these plans on March 22, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., at the Harrisburg Transportation Center, Market and S. 4th streets.


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