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Harrisburg, PA - auto parking ??


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#1 TommySPF

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 12:07 AM

In an earlier post a few weeks back I received a lot of very helpful information and advice for a BOS-PHL-HAR round trip
which I did take earlier this month - Thank you for all your help!

However, there was one very negative incident which occurred and I'd like to raise this issue with the locals and those most knowledgeable about the Harrisburg region.

What - if anything - is being done to provide adequate daily or short-term parking at or near the Harrisburg Transportation Center ?

On the day in question, a friend of mine had a reservation for a mid-day Keystone train to ride from HAR to PHL where she was supposed to meet me & then ride back to HAR with me on another Keystone train. She - along with 4 or 5 other passengers who had reservations or tickets for that one train - had to cancel all their reservations because there was no place to park their cars. She and the others asked at the Amtrak ticket window where they could park but there was nothing available there or any where near by. There were at least two public parking garages within a block or two of the HTC but they both had their entrances blocked with placards stating they were 'full' unless you had a Weekly or Monthly pre-paid parking Pass.

My friend is not local to Harrisburg and the Amtrak personnel told everyone there was nothing they could do to help any of them except direct them to the public parking garages. A Park-and-Ride near by - if they could find it ?

Amtrak owns the HTC.

There is a lot of talk about expanding something called CorridorOne ( and eventually a CorridorTwo ) regional rail expansion out of HAR.

The Harrisburg airport just announced the cancellation of non-stop flights to NYC in part because of increased Amtrak ridership.

Yet there is no parking available at or near the HTC for all these targeted travellers ??

As the owner of the HTC, Amtrak should be spearheading a movement to provide parking & access. They lost at least 5 fares on a single train [ multiplied by how many trains a day, by how many days ? ] because there was no place to park while taking the trains.

Is Amtrak or PennDOT or the city of Harrisburg doing anything about the lack of parking situation ?

Thanks!

SPF

#2 MrEd

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 12:31 AM

short term parking at station

other parking in town
http://www.harrisburgparking.org/
-MrEd, Charlotte NC

#3 DivMiler

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 05:11 AM

What - if anything - is being done to provide adequate daily or short-term parking at or near the Harrisburg Transportation Center ?

(...)

Is Amtrak or PennDOT or the city of Harrisburg doing anything about the lack of parking situation ?

Thanks!


I live in Harrisburg, and I've had the same problems your friends had. The Walnut Street garage is the only one I know of that is open 24 hours to casual parkers (and there is nothing like "short-term" or "long-term" parking as you might get at an airport). See the website MrEd posted.

Fortunately, I can walk (in good weather) or have Ms. DivMiler drive me down to the station. I too would like to see dedicated parking for the bus/train station. I don't know of any efforts to improve the situation.

#4 Chatter163

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 08:25 AM

While I can appreciate the dilemma, it does surprise me that folks would venture out on such a journey without checking information like this in advance. This is particularly true for people who do not live in the area. :blink:

#5 Sam Damon

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 08:52 AM

However, there was one very negative incident which occurred and I'd like to raise this issue with the locals and those most knowledgeable about the Harrisburg region.

What - if anything - is being done to provide adequate daily or short-term parking at or near the Harrisburg Transportation Center ?


*/sarc mode ON

Uhh, your post here is probably the extent of it. We're talking about Pennsylvania, and the state capital, here. Consider yourself lucky to have rehabbed track, let alone intercity passenger rail service. The state's second largest city has -- count em' -- two intercity passenger trains a day.

*/sarc mode OFF

<snip>
Yet there is no parking available at or near the HTC for all these targeted travellers ??

As the owner of the HTC, Amtrak should be spearheading a movement to provide parking &amp; access. They lost at least 5 fares on a single train [ multiplied by how many trains a day, by how many days ? ] because there was no place to park while taking the trains.

Is Amtrak or PennDOT or the city of Harrisburg doing anything about the lack of parking situation ?


If they are, it's a secret. <_<

I've had reason to use the Harrisburg Amtrak station several times over the years. Parking in downtown Harrisburg is particularly a problem because of the number state employees a state capitol brings. Probably PennDOT's rehabbing of the old PRR line between Harrisburg and Philadelphia should have included some more intermodal thinking. I think Harrisburg has done an okay job of integrating city bus service to the train station. As you noticed, though, park-and-ride lots don't exist there. As I indicated, though, Pennsylvanians are lucky to even have fresh track. The state has serious budget problems which won't be solved easily.

So, basically, TommySPF, you have to turn political activist in order to obtain transient parking at the HTC. Sorry.

#6 MrFSS

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 07:41 PM

What is the parking situation at Lancaster, PA if one wanted to use that station for a day trip to Philadelphia and back?

Thanks!

#7 Guest_Guest_jcl653_*_*

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 09:02 PM

On many weekdays at the Lancaster station the long-term lot fills up by 8 a.m. It is possible to find street parking around the area, but if you are not comfortable with that, your best bet is to have someone drop you off and pick-you up. If you do plan to park at the station, arrive early in case the lot is full and you have to find alternatives.

In a few months the station will get a $12M upgrade, which includes a lot more parking spaces. Read about it here:


http://www.wgal.com/...068/detail.html


What is the parking situation at Lancaster, PA if one wanted to use that station for a day trip to Philadelphia and back?

Thanks!



#8 Guest_Guest_jcl653_*_*

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 09:08 PM

Also -- for those interested -- the new Lancaster Amtrak station plans can be downloaded here in PDF form:

http://www.newslanc....mtrak-color.pdf.


On many weekdays at the Lancaster station the long-term lot fills up by 8 a.m. It is possible to find street parking around the area, but if you are not comfortable with that, your best bet is to have someone drop you off and pick-you up. If you do plan to park at the station, arrive early in case the lot is full and you have to find alternatives.

In a few months the station will get a $12M upgrade, which includes a lot more parking spaces. Read about it here:


http://www.wgal.com/...068/detail.html


What is the parking situation at Lancaster, PA if one wanted to use that station for a day trip to Philadelphia and back?

Thanks!



#9 MrFSS

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 09:27 PM

On many weekdays at the Lancaster station the long-term lot fills up by 8 a.m. It is possible to find street parking around the area, but if you are not comfortable with that, your best bet is to have someone drop you off and pick-you up. If you do plan to park at the station, arrive early in case the lot is full and you have to find alternatives.

In a few months the station will get a $12M upgrade, which includes a lot more parking spaces. Read about it here:


http://www.wgal.com/...068/detail.html


What is the parking situation at Lancaster, PA if one wanted to use that station for a day trip to Philadelphia and back?

Thanks!



Thanks - I may be there in July or August as part of a trip with my granddaughter. She has never ridden a train so I thought a quick trip to Philly to see some sights would be fun. Just need to leave the car for the day and it would probably be a weekday.

#10 TommySPF

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 10:31 AM

Mr Ed - thanks for the link. See below.

To reiterate especially for Chatter163 - we all checked out the parking situation ahead of time as part of the overall planning for our trip.

The incident in question occured at 11:00 AM on a Thursday. My friends were looking to park from 11 AM until 6 PM at the latest, a max
of only 7 hours.

We had all looked up the three closest 'public' garages -

o Chestnut Street Garage
(4th & Chestnut Streets) "Facility is open for general public parking 5:00 AM to 11:00 PM, Monday thru Friday"

o Walnut St Garage
(215 Walnut Street)
Facility is open for monthly parkers, the general public and Hilton Hotel parking, 24 hours daily, 7 days a week

o 5th and Market Garage
(5th & Market Streets)
"Facility is open for general public parking 5:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday thru Friday"

As I stated before, when they went to park there, the entrances were all blocked with signs stating they were only open
if you had a Monthly parking pass. Apparently all HPA facilities are open 7x24 for Monthly pass holders, but they were
supposed to be open for general public parking during the day time hours.

#11 Guest_Guest_John_*_*

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 10:19 PM

Folks, as the one poster mentioned, this is Pennsylvania. I moved to Florida in 1984 and they were working on US 322 construction into Harrisburg. I moved back to PA in '99 and they were just completing it. C'mon, this state still requires annual auto inspections! No, parking is a problem and they haven't begun to think about how to fix it. Check back about 2025... In the meantime, pick your poison to New York: Fly through Philly, drive and get stuck at the tunnels/bridges, catch a bus (does anyone actually do that!?) or ride the choo-choo...

#12 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 11:15 PM

Take a train to New York, take a Taxi from the station. Thats how I'd do it.
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#13 Guest_MOM-MOM,C_*

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 12:34 AM

Help! My husband needs to move back to Williamsport, PA and every two weeks I need to be down in Gaston county, NC. How do I find out about prices, so I can compare which options are best; driving, train or flying occasionally. How do I find out about Amtrak?
Thanks
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#14 RTOlson

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 03:39 AM

First, welcome to the board. I'm sure we would all be willing to help you, but please know that this discussion is over a year old. In the future, it may be best to start a new discussion for your question.

As for your question, it would probably be best to use Amtrak's route atlas to find the nearest stations to your origination and destination.

Based on the atlas, it appears that the closest stops are Harrisburg, PA (HAR) and Gastonia, NC (GAS) although Charlotte, NC is an option south. Given those stations, it's a matter of finding routes and fares.

The likeliest route is HAR to Philadelphia 30th Street station on the Pennsylvanian and from Philly to GAS aboard Crescent.

Searching Amtrak's Web site provides the likeliest (and seemingly only schedule):
Posted Image
If I did my math right, the trip will take a total 16 hours (unless there are delays). That includes the nearly 3-hour layover in Philly.

While the train has pretty decent arrival and departure times from Harrisburg, it's an early morning train to and from Gastonia.

That price of $256 roundtrip seems to be the on the low end of train prices. Reservations in August are higher because of demand (and tickets are sold in tiers called "buckets"). Some August trains are already sold out (appears to be Crescent).

Good luck. I hope that you find the best option that works for you.

Edited by RTOlson, 08 August 2009 - 03:41 AM.


#15 jackal

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Posted 08 August 2009 - 05:00 AM

That price of $256 roundtrip seems to be the on the low end of train prices. Reservations in August are higher because of demand (and tickets are sold in tiers called "buckets"). Some August trains are already sold out (appears to be Crescent).

Good luck. I hope that you find the best option that works for you.


I hate to suggest this on a train board, but with enough advance purchase, there appear to be some slightly better (and MUCH shorter) options with air travel.

Not sure this link will work, but you can try it to see some of the results that I came up with for a search at the end of October:

http://www.kayak.com...=...1&o=9897886

(Try clicking the option to "search again.")

Options out of some nearby-to-Williamsport airports (University Park, Scranton, Harrisburg) are about $185 round-trip, and about $100 more gets you directly from Williamsport.

Prices on airlines will, of course, increase substantially with less notice and on heavier-traveled days of the week (I picked Wednesdays, traditionally one of the lighter-volume days).

To compare, the lowest railroad fare I found at amtrak.com (I checked the same dates as my airline test, late October) is $232 round-trip from HAR direct to GSC. It's a longer trip, but it is fairly comfortable and may be more convenient (depending on your arrangements at the far end).

Also, the Lewistown, PA (LEW) station may be a slightly shorter drive for you from Williamsport than the Harrisburg station. Parking may be easier than HAR, since it appears to be a small-town station. However, it has much less service than HAR (meaning available train times will be much less flexible), and it is an unstaffed station, making ticket pick-up options much more cumbersome (and leaving no one there to help you if you have trouble with anything).

Edited by jackal, 08 August 2009 - 05:11 AM.

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#16 AAARGH!

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 11:48 AM

I hate to suggest this on a train board, but with enough advance purchase, there appear to be some slightly better (and MUCH shorter) options with air travel.

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#17 Guest_Craig_*

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 12:50 PM

Has anything been done since these earlier posts to fix the parking situation at the Harrisburg station?
My kids are travelling out of town from Harrisburg on Friday and returning very late (11:30PM) on Staurday. Where can they park near the station where they can retrieve their car upon their return?

Thank you.

#18 Acela150

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:14 PM

Note: 3-4 Year Old topic

Craig, As far as I know there hasn't been much done about it. Check out the link in the topic or they can travel from Middletown which has a parking lot at the station.
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