Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Some construction to resume on State Street, as Harrisburg begins to draft project redesign

State Street on Allison Hill in Harrisburg

Construction along State Street in Harrisburg is slated to resume on Monday, focused mostly on completing unfinished sidewalk ramps.

Late on Thursday, Matt Maisel, the city’s communications director, issued a statement saying that the halted project would re-start next week in a limited scope.

This work includes finishing construction of the ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps at intersections. Work also will begin on drainage enhancements and traffic signal pole installations, according to Maisel.

All work on the State Street Rapid Response project stopped last week after the city issued a cease-and-desist order. In its original configuration, the project would have reduced lanes on the state-owned road from five to three, would have created a median refuge area for pedestrians, and would have added protected bike lanes.

This work is designed to improve safety on State Street, which has been the site of numerous pedestrian fatalities in recent years.

However, the “road diet” would have forced residents parked along the street to move their cars during peak traffic hours, as there would be no parking in the westbound lane heading into the city in the morning and none in the eastbound lane heading out of the city in the afternoon.

This prompted objections from some Allison Hill residents, which led the city to issue the cease-and-desist order. Meanwhile, some city bicycling advocates were displeased that the work had stopped.

According to Harrisburg’s business administrator, Dan Hartman, the city’s engineering department is working to create a new road design that will address the State Street community’s parking needs, while still providing for pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle safety and mobility.

“The prior plan didn’t really incorporate all of those components in a fair way,” he told members of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, the city’s state-appointed financial oversight body, at a meeting on Wednesday. “But with the amount of space we have in the area, it’s completely doable.”

The outreach process will kick off this Tuesday at a City Council meeting, when the administration will make a brief presentation on the project to council members and the public, Hartman said.

“They’ll listen to comments and concerns from city residents at that meeting,” he said.

The city then hopes to have a new design drawn up “in the next two months,” Hartman added.

In the meantime, work will continue on the sidewalk ramps, which have to be widened to comply with federal Americans with Disability Act (ADA) requirements. That work will impact parking between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. until that part of the project is finished, which is expected to take about one month, according to Hartman.

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