Rt. 39 traffic woes subject of corridor study

By Charles Zinn
Linglestown Gazette summer intern

There’s growing concerns about traffic congestion on Pennsylvania Route 39 with major development projects planned in the corridor in Susquehanna and Lower Paxton townships.

With help from community activist Eric Epstein, Dauphin County officials launched a corridor study about a year ago by contracting engineering firm Herbert, Rowland & Grubic to work on the project.

Earlier this week an open house was held in South Hanover Township’s municipal building to provide the public with a status report on the study and to gather suggestions from citizens.

Route 39 map was used to gather public comments and suggestions on various sections of the corridor,

“We’re looking for public input on certain areas and certain locations that there is particular capacity issues,” said Jacob Long, a HRG staff member who works in the firm’s traffic department.

Having the public weigh in with their opinion can further help HRG find out about the capacity of Linglestown Road, he said.

“The purpose of [the open house] is to identify whether or not the existing zoning and the projected future land use makes sense for the long-term for the corridor,” said Tim Staub, a land-use planner at HRG.

The aim of the study, which also includes Route 743, is to come up with a punch list of suggestions for local and state officials that would help maintain a reasonable traffic flow through the corridors. The recommendations most likely will include road enhancements and zoning changes.

“We didn’t want them changing Linglestown,” said Joe Murphy, a Linglestown resident who spearheaded the formation of the Lower Paxton Township Historical Commission earlier this year. “Our biggest concern was whether they were going to cut into some of the historical areas.”

He added that it was his fear that they would continue to change Linglestown Road into a four-lane highway, similar to Route 22.

Bill Minsker, another Linglestown resident, supports the use of roundabouts to smooth out the traffic flow at intersections along Route 39.

“I see many, many places where roundabouts would be much more efficient than traffic lights,” said Minsker.

Epstein, a Lower Paxton Township resident and Central Dauphin school board member, was surprised at the number of people at the open house who expressed interest in having a pedestrian path and bicycle lane along Route 39.

He’s unsure how township officials in Susquehanna, Lower Paxton and West Hanover townships will use the study to coordinate land use and transportation.

With all of this going on, Eric Stump of HRG, the manager of the corridor study, said the next step is to confirm all land uses and look at different alternatives with the zoning, both with the existing zoning and with the comments given by the public.

Stump said there will be another public meeting in October or November, and he expects the study most likely will wrap up sometime in the first half of 2019.

He hopes local officials will use the corridor study to help acquire grants and other funding that would be needed to implement recommendations.
Charles Zinn is a 2018 graduate of Harrisburg Christian School and will be attending Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa., this fall.
For additional information on the Route 39 corridor study, CLICK HERE for a story published by PennLive.com.