Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg to retain 2 of 4 threatened stop signs until council can act

The stop sign at 3rd and Kelker streets last month

Harrisburg will retain two of four stop signs on N. 3rd Street that were threatened with removal until City Council can make a final decision on their fate.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse on Tuesday night said that his administration has decided to retain the stop signs at Emerald and Kelker streets, but remove them at Harris and Boyd streets.

These are temporary measures until the 3rd Street corridor project is complete, Papenfuse said. At that time, council will have the option of making a final decision on the signs by changing the city’s traffic control map.

“The traffic control map will come to City Council for approval once the project is done,” Papenfuse said. “In the meantime, I will make [this] recommendation.”

In early August, residents along the corridor were surprised to learn that the city planned to remove stop signs on N. 3rd Street at those four intersections. Soon after, numerous residents appeared at a council meeting to protest the removal.

Residents claimed removing the signs would lead to a more dangerous street, though city Engineer Wayne Martin said that, under state and federal guidelines, stop signs at those intersections were not warranted. Stop signs would remain on the side streets leading to 3rd Street.

At the Harris and Boyd street intersections, the stop signs will be replaced with yield signs. A pedestrian crosswalk also will be added at Harris Street.

“I agree with Boyd,” said Councilman Westburn Majors. “I’m concerned about Harris Street because there’s the senior living building there.”

Papenfuse reiterated that council would be able to reverse this action when it reconsiders its traffic control map next year.

“You’ll have the final say,” he said. “It’s a recommendation on how to proceed in the short term.”

Papenfuse also offered an update on the 3rd Street corridor project. He said that road milling and paving would begin soon between Reily and Forster streets, with completion expected by mid-October.

He added that the project unexpectedly will extend into next year for the downtown area south of Forster Street for two principal reasons.

First, Harrisburg University has requested a work stoppage at S. 3rd and Chestnut streets until it removes its heavy equipment from the immediate area as part of the construction of its 17-story academic tower and hotel.

Secondly, the city recently learned that it has received a $40,000 state Department of Environmental Protection grant to install eight electric vehicle charging stations in front of the State Museum. The installation of the electrical infrastructure will delay completion of the project in that area, Papenfuse said.

Moreover, the city plans to complete the sidewalk-widening project around the state Capitol. About eight years ago, the sidewalk around the Capitol on Walnut Street and most of N. 3rd Street was widened. However, the project wasn’t completed, leaving the original, narrow concrete strip in place from North to State streets. That sidewalk now will be widened, as well, completing the walkway.

Papenfuse said the 3rd Street corridor project would extend “at least” into next summer south of Forster Street. Several council members urged the city to hold at least one public hearing to update residents on the project.

“We’re certainly open to scheduling and advertising so people can talk just about that project,” Papenfuse said.

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