Harrisburg residents, drivers react to plan for 2-way 2nd Street

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – People are reacting to news that Harrisburg may change Second Street from a one-way to a two-way road.

Uptown Chicago Grill is cornered on Second and Maclay Streets, one of the busiest intersections on a street about to get a big makeover. While people inside were chowing down on lunch, Lenwood Sloan was chewing on the proposed plan.

“I’m for anything that impacts a slower pace of traffic in my community,” Sloan said.

Sloan, who resigned from Mayor Eric Papenfuse’s administration last year, said the concept goes along with his idea of building an urban village based on community. He said the heavy traffic along Second Street divides neighbors and keeps families away from this residential corridor.

But Sloan said the plan as he understands it comes with a few concerns.

“You push traffic out to places like Seventh and Peffer or streets where there are a number of children, you have to be sober about the realities,” he said.

Sloan said he would like to see how the city plans to ensure safety to the people who live along Seventh Street near the playgrounds and parks.

In a letter to Papenfuse, PennDOT suggested the city turn Seventh Street from Maclay to Division from two-way traffic to a one-way road towards the Uptown Plaza. This would essentially funnel traffic from Forster to Division down Seventh in order to get to Interstate 81.

City engineer Wayne Martin said the commute would essentially take the same amount of time as it does now, given that traffic lights on Second Street would become stop signs and Seventh Street would become one-way.

Nevin Mindlin, a long-time city resident and former mayoral candidate, said he likes the concept at its core. He too felt the making residential areas more walkable and bikeable is for the better.

However, Mindlin felt the plan should be a part of a larger comprehensive traffic plan for the entire city, not just a few sections, and he felt the idea of funneling traffic down Seventh Street could be counterproductive.

“A speedway down Seventh Street and down Division Street is not going to be healthy for neighborhoods along there,” he said.

He proposes more planning be done in an open forum to discuss some of these concerns.

“You don’t fix it for one person and mess it up for someone else, you fix it up for everybody,” he said. “That means you got to be out in the open and talk about it.”

Mindlin said the philosophy of focusing on commuters does little to help urban community growth. He felt the city should not plan traffic patterns around people only getting in and out of Harrisburg.

Martin said there are 67,000 daily commuters in Harrisburg. ABC 27 asked a few drivers for their thoughts on the plan.

“This works for me, I like it the way it is,” one woman said.

“I think going back to two lanes, no one-way is perfect,” another woman said.

One gentleman was open to the plan.

“No, I wouldn’t mind,” he said.

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