When North Second Street in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was converted to three northbound lanes in the 1950s to improve traffic flow, it created an unintended consequence: speeding. When Harrisburg adopted a Vision Zero policy in 2018, more than 90% of drivers exceeded the 25 mph speed limit, and more than 80% were driving faster than 38 mph! The City administration identified improving safety on North Second Street as one of its top transportation priorities, seeking an end to the “Second Street Speedway.”
As a subconsultant, Kittelson led a multimodal operations analysis to investigate the impacts of converting North Second Street from one-way to two-way operations. The analysis also evaluated several alternatives to support the City’s goals to enhance safety, improve mobility, and provide multimodal connections.
The alternative selected included a three-lane section with a two-way left-turn lane and a two-lane section with a parking separated bike lane. We assessed potential traffic diversion concerns using the Harrisburg Area Transportation Study travel demand model, which considered the use of mini roundabouts, raised crosswalks, and other pedestrian and bicycle improvements for speed reduction. Our team also provided traffic design services through final design for the project, conducted intersection control evaluations for eight intersections, and developed signing and pavement marking plans for the two-mile corridor.
Transforming Traffic Flows for Enhanced Safety in Harrisburg, PA
Construction of the project was completed in Fall 2022. The community has appreciated the new traffic pattern, lower traffic speeds, and more comfortable pedestrian crossings. Lower traffic speeds also make the street more comfortable for bicyclists. The transformed North Second Street has reconnected the Midtown neighborhood to nearby Riverfront Park along the Susquehanna River, and Midtown Harrisburg experienced a dramatic increase in livability, safety, and multimodal connections.