Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

City Council Update: Traffic police on the move, roadwork planned for South Harrisburg

Harrisburg City Council at tonight’s legislative session

Harrisburg’s traffic police are moving their home base to Paxton Street.

City Council tonight approved a one-year, $1 lease with UPMC Pinnacle to rent office space in a UPMC-owned property at 1000 Paxton St.

The new space will allow officers in the city’s traffic safety unit to store damaged cars for inspection following traffic safety incidents.

Officers currently store vehicles involved in investigations in a downtown garage, which is cramped and not entirely protected from the outdoors, according to police officials.

The deal also provides 140 square feet of office space where officers can store equipment and complete paperwork. Only one or two officers will ever be in the office at a given time, council public safety chair Ausha Green said tonight.

UPMC will furnish the office with desks, a credenza and a refrigerator, and the Harrisburg Police Bureau will provide furniture from its existing inventory as needed.

The agreement will not permit the bureau to increase the size of its traffic safety unit, which currently comprises six officers who are called to traffic assignments in between other duties.

Council also voted tonight to reaffirm the terms of a $2 million loan to finance street improvements in South Harrisburg.

A resolution that council passed in April authorized the city to enter into the loan agreement with the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Bank, to be repaid over a 10-year period at a 2.5 percent interest rate. A resolution passed tonight ratifies the same terms with “more robust language,” according to Deputy Solicitor Tiffanie Baldock.

The $2 million loan will allow the city to repave 38,000 square feet of roads and install ADA-compliant wheelchair ramps and crosswalk signals at six deteriorating intersections in South Harrisburg.

The goal of the project is to create a safer pedestrian environment, according to council legislation, which does not identify the streets targeted for improvements. The project is expected to begin next year.

City Council also considered legislation tonight to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement with city employees represented by the Local 521 chapter of AFSCME. It would extend the current contract for two years, providing a 1-percent annual raise and a $1,000 bonus for members of the bargaining unit, effective at the start of the new fiscal year.

The contract agreement was sent to council’s administration committee, which will meet during the next work session on Tuesday, Nov. 20.

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