If you drove past the state Capitol today, you may have been surprised to find several cars that you don’t normally see on the streets of Harrisburg.
A Porsche, an Audi and several other electric vehicles were the guests of honor at a ribbon-cutting to inaugurate the newly installed charging stations in front of the State Museum.
Late last year, Harrisburg made several changes to the 700-block of N. 3rd Street. This included new angled parking spaces and installation of eight ChargePoint charging stations.
According to Mayor Eric Papenfuse, the reconfigured street and the charging stations fit in with the years-long, nearly complete 3rd Street corridor project.
“This represents the culmination of a larger 3rd Street improvement project from one end of the city to the other, which has resulted in new sidewalks, new traffic-calming measures, new green infrastructure, which you’ll see up and down the street,” he said.
Papenfuse said that the charging stations were not originally in the project plan. However, last year, he held a meeting with state officials at the behest of four state legislators who had nowhere to charge their electric vehicles while in Harrisburg.
“They had to park at a dealership and Uber to the Capitol,” Papenfuse said.
These aren’t the first electric vehicle charging stations in Harrisburg. About seven years ago, a station was installed near N. 2nd and State streets.
The new stations were funded with a $40,000 state Department of Environmental Protection grant. The state paid for most of the other project costs, including the electrical infrastructure and a new sidewalk, Papenfuse said.
The stations have been active since last month and, over the past week, there have been more than three-dozen chargings, he said.
Before a line of TV news cameras, Papenfuse demonstrated how motorists can use the charging stations with their cell phones and the ChargePoint app.
Users pay just 72 cents an hour to charge their vehicles, and the average charging time is 1 hour and 52 minutes, he said.
The project isn’t quite done. Soon, the city will begin another phase, which will widen the sidewalk on N. 3rd Street between North and State streets.
Several years ago, the state widened what was a thin strip of concrete around much of the Capitol along Walnut and N. 3rd streets, but stopped at State Street.
The sidewalk expansion will complete the loop and make the sidewalk ADA-accessible, Papenfuse said. The walkway will remove the parking spaces along that stretch of 3rd Street. However, overall, the city has gained spaces with the new angled parking in front of the State Museum, he said.
“It never been easier to visit the State Museum,” Papenfuse said. “You don’t even need to parallel park anymore.”
For more information about ChargePoint and the ChargePoint app, visit www.chargepoint.com.