Achieving 25-year dream of linking Fort Hunter Park to the Capital Area Greenbelt among $7.5 million in upgrades announced by Dauphin County Commissioners

HARRISBURG, PA (March 27, 2018) –Achieving the 25-year goal to extend the historic Capital Area Greenbelt to Fort Hunter Park in Susquehanna Township is among the $7.5 million in improvements announced today by the Dauphin County Commissioners.

The commissioners announced the Fort Hunter connection while visiting the Five Senses Garden off South 28th Street (Route 441) behind the Harrisburg Mall in Swatara Township, one of six intersections along the 20-mile trail slated to receive safety upgrades as part of the improvements. Work on the projects is expected to start this year and be completed by mid-2019.

“More than 100 years ago as part of the City Beautiful movement, visionaries planned what they called a ‘circle of green’ around Harrisburg,’’ said board Chairman Jeff Haste. “We’re proud to make Fort Hunter part of that circle and finally give hikers and bikers a safe way to get to the park without having to drive.’’

Sections of the Greenbelt average between 100,000 to 400,000 visitors annually and Haste said the projects would ensure the families from across our region who love the Capital Area Green Belt will continue to have a safe and fun experience.

Funding for the $7.5 million in upgrades is coming from 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.

“Extending the trail along the Susquehanna River to Fort Hunter Park adds another jewel to an already beautiful necklace encircling our region,’’ said Commissioner Mike Pries. “Recreation is essential to the quality of life and helps drive the local economy. Companies want to locate in areas where employees will want to live and raise families.’’

Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III pointed out that studies show having parks close by encourages people to exercise, which is increasingly important as more of us sit behind desks.

“I’ve lost count of the number of articles that I’ve seen talking about our country’s battle with obesity and how it is hurting adults and children,’’ Hartwick said. “Maintaining and expanding the Greenbelt gives thousands of our residents the opportunity to take a needed health break in a safe, beautiful environment.’’

Fort Hunter connector

Plans for the roughly 1.5-mile-long 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.

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

Front Street, from Linglestown Road 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.

Improving intersection safety

The following are the intersections receiving improvements and highlights of the planned work:

 1.       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

2.       Front and Vaughn

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

 3.       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

 4.       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

5.       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

6.       State Route 30 (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

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