Converting part of Harrisburg’s N. 2nd Street to a two way street could come in 2016

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Some major changes may be in store for drivers in Harrisburg. PennDOT sent a letter to Mayor Eric Papenfuse detailing what road projects would need to be done in order to make part of North Second Street at two way road.

The change would start at Forster and 2nd streets, and would go all the way to where 2nd and Division streets meet. Mayor Eric Papenfuse says this is something that would really slow down the pace in this area.

“It’ll feel like a neighborhood and not a highway,” said Papenfuse.

Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse says this change is something PennDOT has resisted for more than 40 years. PennDOT sent a letter to the mayor with results from a traffic study conducted at the end of last year. In the letter, PennDOT states converting the one way street to two single lanes of opposing traffic is doable. But, it must be supported by a number of other improvements, like removing stoplights and converting 7th street to a one-way northbound direction.

“It’s just a little bit further out of the way but that is the appropriate venue for commuter traffic to be taking,” said Papenfuse.

Besides changes to 2nd street, Papenfuse also wants to add a bike lane on Front street. These changes are something families in the area welcome.

“I have a little one and there’s a lot more young families kind of staying in the city and I think having some quieter less speedy traffic would make it a lot more attractive for us to stay even longer,” said Jessica Gazsi, of Harrisburg.

But, others aren’t as excited.

“I think it’s stupid,” said a Harrisburg resident.

They’re worried these changes will just make the traffic problems, worse.

“People get their mirrors taken off all the time just by not tucking it in and if people make the lanes smaller it’s just going to get worse. And what happens when it snows? Naw, it’s not going to work!” said Doug Mckata, of Harrisburg.

The city will host a series of public meetings on this issue throughout the year. Changes could come as soon as 2016.