Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg residents prefer median, turning lane for 2nd Street redesign, says city

These renderings show concept 1 on the left and concept 2 on the right, for the intersection of N. 2nd and Wiconisco streets.

Median strips have triumphed over a dedicated bike lane, as Harrisburg today announced the winning design for its two-way 2nd Street conversion.

The city administration issued a release stating that residents overwhelmingly preferred “concept 1,” which features a center left-turn lane, along with partial median strips, along the two-mile stretch from Forster to Division streets.

“The public feedback greatly favored Concept 1, and so the city is ready to move forward with next steps towards its implementation,” according to the release.

The competing design, “concept 2,” included a protected bike lane, but no center lane.

“That’s the main difference,” Mayor Eric Papenfuse told TheBurg previously. “Do you want a center lane with medians, or do you want a bike lane? We can’t accommodate both.”

The winning design also would sacrifice fewer parking spaces. The design would mean the loss of 70 spaces, as opposed to 83 under concept 2, yielding a total of 550 street parking spaces on N. 2nd from Forster to Division streets.

The design itself is not primarily responsible for the parking loss. Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, the city must make intersections ADA-compliant whenever it undertakes significant roadwork, which then will reduce parking capacity near intersections.

In July, some 200 people packed into HACC’s Midtown 2 building to see and vote on the two designs.

The city today said that 65 percent of respondents, who voted both in person and online, preferred concept 1 and that 87 percent of respondents wanted the street returned to two-way traffic through Midtown and Uptown Harrisburg.

In the 1950s, 2nd Street was made into a three-lane mini-highway to accommodate commuters and has remained that way since.

The city now will complete the design phase and move towards bid solicitation. Papenfuse has said that he expects the $5.7 million project to begin next year and be completed in 2021.

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