Dauphin County Commissioners, state and local officials break ground on extension linking Fort Hunter Park to the Capital Area Greenbelt

HARRISBURG, PA (October 30, 2018) Fulfilling a 30-year dream, the Dauphin County Commissioners, along with state and local officials and members of the Capital Area Greenbelt Association, today broke ground on a 2-mile extension linking Fort Hunter Park in Susquehanna Township to the Capital Area Greenbelt.

The commissioners were joined by Greenbelt supporters at the park’s historic Heckton Church at 5260 North Front St., which will be the northernmost tip of the 20-mile trail when the project is completed late next year.

“Thousands of residents and visitors attend Fort Hunter’s many activities and use the Greenbelt every year, and this long-desired extension will give them a safe way to enjoy the park without having to drive,’’ said board Chairman Jeff Haste. “More than 100 years ago, our civic leaders had the foresight to create the Greenbelt, and this extension is our gift to generations to come.’’

The $4.5 million Fort Hunter extension project is part of $7.5 million in Greenbelt upgrades funded by the state departments of Transportation, Conservation and Natural Resources, Environmental Protection and Community and Economic Development. The commissioners also approved $310,000 in gaming grants for the projects, which include safety upgrades to six intersections along the Greenbelt.

“Providing recreational opportunities not only makes a community more livable but helps attract new businesses who want a good environment for their employees,’’ said Commissioner Mike Pries. “Every year, sections of the Greenbelt get between 100,000 to 400,000 visitors, and these projects will ensure they have a safe and fun experience.’’

Plans for the Fort Hunter connector call for creating a path along Industrial Road at the northern end of Wildwood Park, where the Greenbelt now ends. The path would continue up Industrial Road to Linglestown Road, where it would turn left toward the Susquehanna River.

“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says almost half of American adults have tried to lose weight,’’ Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III said. “Expanding and improving the Greenbelt goes directly to this board’s commitment to improve the lives of our residents and providing safe and accessible outdoor recreation is part of that commitment.’’ 

To avoid crossing traffic at Linglestown and Industrial roads, plans call for the trail extension to turn left on nearby Kaby Street and loop under Linglestown, continuing toward the river on the other side. The path would cross Front Street at the signalized intersection with Linglestown. A new pedestrian lane, with a curbed buffer zone, will extend along the river-side of Front Street to Fort Hunter.

Linglestown, from Front Street to Fort Hunter, will become a two-lane road with a turning lane in the center, allowing room for the pedestrian lane. Traffic studies supported the change and determined reconfiguring the lanes will have no appreciable impact on commuters. Front Street is already two lanes through Fort Hunter Park.

Elsewhere along the trail, safety upgrades to six intersections are expected to be completed by the end of November. Work was done at the following locations:

Front and Vaughn

  • New crosswalks with ADA treatments
  • Pedestrian/bicycle overhead flashing beacon
  • Sidewalk and curb upgrades
  • Repaving the intersection

Herr Street and Parkway Drive

  • Improved crosswalks with ADA treatments
  • Pedestrian crossing button on Herr Street
  • Curbing and five-foot sidewalk on west side of Herr Street
  • Paving Parkview Drive from Herr to Walnut streets
  • New signage and pavement markings for bicyclists using the road

Market Street and 28th Street

  • Create visible crosswalks with trail signage and ADA treatments
  • Pedestrian activated flashing beacons with trail signage
  • Install trail signage
  • Curbing and buffers to separate trail users from vehicles
  • Relocate Parkway Boulevard south several feet to allow a shared use path parallel to and outside of the road section between Market and 28th Streets
  • Pedestrian activated flashing beacons for each crosswalk
  • Extend sidewalk along Parkview Boulevard to a point where the traffic lessens closer to Reservoir Park
  • Repaving of intersection

Paxtang Street and 32nd Street near the Rutherford House

  • Reconstruct the trail approach on the south side of the intersection to create a more direct right angle crossing
  • Create a wider, 10-foot crosswalk
  • Installation or upgrading of curbing and improving signage and pavement markings
  • Repave affected area of the intersection

Route 411 at the Five Senses Garden

  • Realign the trail on either side of the intersection to provide a safer approach
  • Constructing a pedestrian island in the roadway
  • Install pedestrian activated overhead flashing beacon and yield to pedestrian sign
  • Create more visible crosswalk and pavement markings
  • Repave the intersection

State Route 230 (Cameron Street) and Elliot Street near the Dauphin County Recycling Center

  • Construct a pedestrian island to shorten the road crossing distance on Cameron Street
  • Install a pedestrian activated overhead beacon warning motorists to yield
  • Create more visible crosswalks, repositioned to improve turning for delivery trucks
  • Repave the intersection and install new curbing

Greenbelt Surfacing

Resurfacing of the Greenbelt in multiple locations

  • Along the river near the Riverfront PennDOT Building
  • On the former railbed along Cameron Street near the Ames facility
  • Between the Five Senses Garden and Paxton Street
  • From Rutherford House to the sidewalk along Park Drive

Streambank restoration

Protection of 764 feet of stream bank restoration along the Paxtang Parkway portion of the Greenbelt in Harrisburg. These restorations will protect and preserve the trail and the sewer interceptor underneath and improve the storm water discharge from Kline Plaza.

For more information about the Capital Area Greenbelt, including how to volunteer or donate, go to www.caga.org.