Breaking logjam on East Third Street traffic flow is vital

Lots of people, from elected officials to businessmen to transportation leaders, want East Third Street in Williamsport to become a two-way corridor between Market and Mulberry streets.

So far, the group does not include engineers at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

And until they are on board, the future of East Third Street in that area, vital to development plans in the eastern section of downtown, will remain one-way.

The East Third Street/Old City Commission revisited the issue at a meeting last week.

Its members want the area in question to become a two-way street that serves motorists, bicyclists, bus riders and pedestrians.

Such a change would be a trigger to much of the development that is envisioned for the area.

PennDOT personnel have no problem with two-way traffic on East Third Street east of Mulberry Street.

And they have no problem with a proposal to make Basin Street two-way between East Third and East Fourth streets, creating the intersection at Franklin Street.

But Williamsport Mayor Gabriel J. Campana says commission members and city officials have yet to convince department engineers of the value of a continuous, two-way route on East Third Street between Market and Mulberry streets.

They apparently will get a chance to change that in a meeting this week with PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards.

We won’t profess to have the engineering chops of any of the people involved in studying this issue.

What we do know is that, for anyone traveling west on East Third Street by any means other than foot, it feels like a permanent detour when they get to Mulberry Street and have to turn right or left to go north or south.

And that’s the sort of thing that is a killer for prospective developers and a point of confusion for those who might be coming to the city for business or leisure. It’s definitely a black mark on the perception of the city.

It would certainly be a positive advance if that black mark could be eliminated by making Third Street two-way in that section of the city.