Community expresses mixed feelings about Harrisburg 2nd Street conversion project

$6 million- that’s the price tag to convert 2nd Street in Harrisburg from a one-way street to a two-way street.

“There will be a delay for commuters to travel outside the city, but that’s a small price to pay for having a street you can cross, that children can cross, without having to fear for their lives,” said Wayne Martin, Harrisburg City engineer.

It’s a project city officials say is long overdue, and Wednesday night more than 100 people came to a meeting to learn why.

“There’s a great public safety benefit to making our streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, encouraging mass transportation and other things. There’s also a great quality of life aspect to this. It’s going to make it, I think, more desirable for people to live in the city and work in the city,” said Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse.

Some of the people we spoke with are ready for the change.

“I’m excited for it. There’s a lot of different studies out there that show turning streets back into two-ways helps slow down cars,” said Zachary Monnier, Harrisburg resident.

“I can’t wait for them to do something to cut down the traffic speed. I’m talking the ability to sleep at night because Forster Street is the drag race starting line,” said Fran O'Brien, who lives on 2nd Street.

But others aren’t so sure.

“If I have two lanes of traffic doing 40 mph, it’s not solving anything. It’s actually making it worse,” said Laura Campgane Gregorits, who also lives on 2nd Street.

City officials say they will take the public input they heard Wednesday night when developing final designs.

Those designs are expected in 2019 and construction could start as early as 2020.