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System 3 – Connecting People & Places (CPP)


Lancaster is a compact and connected city. Residents are connected to their workplaces, services, schools, parks, families, and friends by an excellent transportation network that provides opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to get around. The city is connected to the region by a variety of travel modes. Transportation is becoming cleaner, safer, more energy efficient, more affordable, and less impactful on the environment. Streets and other public spaces provide places to gather, places for art and trees, and an aesthetic asset that make Lancaster a more beautiful city. 


Historically, Lancaster County was developed with a “hub-and-spoke” roadway pattern, with the city at the center (see Figure 3-6). Lancaster City has a traditional street grid, fostering an environment that is walkable and easy to navigate. Mobility in the city and metropolitan region is quite good compared to other cities in the country, as traffic congestion is minimal most of the day and it is easy to get around by car. 

Figure 3-6: Lancaster Street System. Many Pennsylvania State highways traverse Lancaster City, although a majority of the city is comprised of historic, narrow streets and alleyways built before cars.

Efficiency of travel is an asset for Lancastrians and our quality of life. At the same time, it encourages single occupancy driving and driving for short trips. These habits are becoming less sustainable as the region grows, congestion gets worse, and greenhouse gas emissions increase.

Lancaster’s compact character, combined with its relatively flat topography, make the city ideal for relatively short trips by bike and on foot. Lancaster’s streets and sidewalks are a point of pride and have been rated 81 on Walk Score’s walkability scale. Additionally, Lancaster County’s bucolic countryside draws millions of visitors each year and is renowned as a bicycling destination. As the County seat, Lancaster City has been developing bike infrastructure that benefits local neighborhoods and connects the city to its surroundings (See Figure 3-7). The City is also working to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and reduce the number of collisions.

Figure 3-7: Cycling Network. The City of Lancaster had 15.4 miles of on-road bicycling facilities in April 2023 and is actively implementing an Active Transportation Plan to expand this network.

Lancaster is the primary destination for many trips within Lancaster County and neighboring counties via Routes 30, 283, and 222. Residents in Lancaster have a shorter than average commute time (23 minutes) compared to the average US worker (25.5 minutes). The City of Lancaster is the regional hub for mass transit, including an extensive public bus network with a transit station downtown. The Amtrak train station is the second busiest station in Pennsylvania, providing easy access to Philadelphia, New York, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh.

Seventeen percent of households in the city have no vehicle and 44 percent have just one vehicle (ACS, 2023). While this situation can present an access challenge, it is also a competitive advantage. Transit ridership is stronger than in many comparably sized cities. Continuing to invest in mass transit and other alternative modes of transportation is imperative to get our residents where they need to go. Access to employment is especially important, given higher unemployment rates and lower incomes in the city relative to its surroundings. 

Transportation is also a major land use in Lancaster City, with public rights of way and parking lots representing 23 percent of the city’s land area. This acreage is complemented by other public spaces, including urban parks, plazas, schoolyards, and utilities, that collectively form what is called the “public realm.” These spaces provide common ground that connects Lancastrians while also defining the image of the city and its neighborhoods. 

The Comprehensive Plan engagement process and analysis revealed a set of core issues relating to and connecting the city. These include: 

  • Linking residents to jobs and other destinations, with an emphasis on equity
  • Expanding effective, efficient, and affordable alternatives to driving
  • Improving transit access, travel time, and predictability 
  • Eliminating fatalities and reducing serious injuries on the transportation network
  • Investing in maintenance and repair of sidewalks, roadways, and bridges 
  • Reducing the environmental and climate impacts of transportation
  • Adapting to changing transportation technology and innovation in travel 
  • Managing commercial goods movement and parking in ways that support economic development. 

Future strategies should focus on moving people rather than simply moving vehicles. This requires more than just maximizing automobile speed and making it easier to drive. Lancaster City is planning for a shift to multi-modal travel that is convenient, efficient, comfortable, and affordable. The City also recognizes the indispensable role that public rights of way and transportation services play in the vitality of Lancaster’s economy, character, and culture. 

The policies and actions below respond to these issues. They are divided into three major elements:

  1. Mobility and Access
  2. System Safety and Efficiency
  3. Vibrant Public Spaces and Streets

Policies & Actions


Objective: Expand mobility options and integrate land uses (such as jobs and housing) to ensure people can access employment, education, and other destinations without hardship.

Policy CPP–1.1: Active Transportation

Prioritize projects that advance walking, bicycling, transit, and other “active” modes of transportation. Foster mobility innovations that make transportation healthier, safer, more affordable, and more sustainable.

Action CPP–1.1A: Active Transportation Plan

Implement the recommendations of the City’s Active Transportation Plan, adopted by City Council. 

Policy CPP–1.2: Bicycle Infrastructure

Proactively invest in the City’s bicycle infrastructure and establish specific performance goals for installing new bike lanes, trails, and other facilities. Design and install bicycle amenities that can serve a wide range of users, including children and older individuals. 

Policy CPP–1.3: Micro Mobility Systems

Increase the availability of micro-mobility systems that allow people to move around the city quickly and conveniently, such as bike share, car share, and on-demand transit services. Accommodate short trips without dependence on abundant parking and personal cars.

Policy CPP–1.4: Transit Service Quality

Partner with Red Rose Transit Authority (RRTA) to identify practical changes in bus routing, frequency, and reliability to meet the needs of current and future customers. Support RRTA in the development and implementation of its Transit Development Plan, which will determine ways to improve the quality of public transportation services and maintain and attract riders. 

Policy CPP–1.5: Transit Circulation Around the City

Collaborate with RRTA to improve the ability of residents and visitors to conveniently travel from one neighborhood to another and between destinations in the Downtown. Improve service for the local trips that support daily economic activities and tourism, above and beyond the traditional, regional “hub and spoke” system that emphasizes longer trips. Strive for greater equity in the routing, frequency, and affordability of transit service.

Action CPP–1.5A: Micro Transit Pilot

Undertake a pilot program to test micro transit service in the city in order to improve the efficiency and experience of city residents trying to access employment, health care, and education. Obtain federal and other grant funding in partnership with RRTA to enact the pilot, offering on-demand services within defined geographic areas, including low to moderate income neighborhoods. 

Policy CPP–1.6: Mobility Hubs and Intermodal Connections

Establish mobility hubs at key locations within the city where people can transfer from one transportation mode to another. Develop the Lancaster Train Station area and RRTA Center to better facilitate seamless connections between trains, buses, cars, bicycles, and other relevant modes. Identify smaller hubs in each quadrant that can enrich the intermodal network and facilitate travel.

Policy CPP–1.7: Transportation Services Information and Marketing

Work with appropriate partners to better educate community members about public transportation options. Promote the use of those options to reduce traffic congestion and parking demand and facilitate access to employment and other important destinations. Include multi-lingual outreach to refugee and immigrant populations and user-friendly tools to overcome barriers and negative perceptions of transit services.

Policy CPP–1.8: Reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)

Reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) as a strategy for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, improving physical and mental health, and reducing traffic congestion. Facilitate shorter trip lengths and fewer overall vehicle trips by locating housing, services, and employment in proximity to each other; encouraging carpooling and other transportation demand management measures; accommodating telecommuting; and maintaining walkable streets and neighborhoods. 

Policy CPP–1.9: Transportation and Land Use Coordination

Make significant land development decisions and transportation investments in concert to ensure they mutually support one another. Encourage transit-supportive development densities and a mix of land uses at major transportation assets like the Lancaster Train Station. Steer transportation capital funds towards priority development corridors and hubs identified in the Comprehensive Plan and Small Area Plans. 

Policy CPP–1.10: Metropolitan Planning

Better coordinate local and regional transportation planning through the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) process to ensure that major City capital needs are reflected in the Lancaster MPO’s Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) updates, which contains long-range (25-year) investments for the region. Metropolitan areas that prioritize improvements to address multi-municipal problems are the most successful in leveraging competitive state and federal transportation funds and creating positive impacts on the regional economy.


Objective: Provide safe city streets and efficient transportation operations for all users, especially the most vulnerable.

Policy CPP–2.1: Roadway Maintenance and Operations

Maintain roads and other infrastructure in public rights-of-way in good condition. Apply sound asset management practices, such as condition assessments, pavement indexes, and coordination with land developers and utility companies to prioritize capital improvements. Utilize sound financial planning to maximize repairs and upgrades relative to available City revenues.

Action CPP–2.1A: Alley Study and Plan

Evaluate existing alleys throughout the city and develop a strategy for their long-term ownership, design, and maintenance. Maximize these assets for city-wide planning goals around transportation, stormwater, public safety, housing, and more. Future designs should maximize low-impact development strategies and benefits to adjacent properties. 

Policy CPP–2.2: Sidewalks

Ensure that safe, good-quality sidewalks are present on at least one side of every street and preferably on both sides. Because sidewalks are the legal responsibility of adjacent property owners, the City should work with property owners to facilitate needed repairs. 

Action CP–2.2A: Sidewalk Repair Assistance

Develop a program or programs to assist low- to moderate-income property owners with sidewalk repairs. Build on and refine program(s) according to lessons learned.

Policy CPP–2.3: Traffic Safety 

Focus road design and operational improvements on high-collision intersections and roadway segments, and on areas with vulnerable populations including children, older adults, and persons with disabilities. 

Action CPP–2.3A: Vision Zero Plan

Implement the recommendations in the City’s Vision Zero Plan, and eliminate traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030. 

Action CPP–2.3B: Traffic Calming 

Create and implement a City Traffic Calming Policy. The objective of traffic calming is to improve the livability of neighborhoods while maintaining a safe and efficient street system. The Policy should include strategies to slow down neighborhood traffic and to reduce hazards and speeding on arterials and collectors.

Action CPP–2.3C: Two-way Roadway Conversions

Analyze the conversion of select roads from one-way to two-way operations, with the intent of calming traffic and improving the safety, comfort, and vitality of those corridors. The City has experienced success with two-way conversions on Mulberry and Charlotte Streets. Other conversions may prove beneficial on streets such as Duke, Lime, Orange, Church, and select non-City streets such as Willow Street Pike. Safety and access advantages must be weighed against the impacts on mobility and network operations.

Policy CPP–2.4: Congestion Management

Periodically evaluate traffic levels of service and travel times to understand changing travel patterns and delays. The city experiences very little congestion during most times of day, with the exception of short peak periods during the morning and evening. This condition may change as local and regional growth continue. 

Policy CPP–2.5: Truck Routing 

Minimize the impact of trucks and other heavy vehicles on the quality of life within the city. Coordinate with the PA Department of Transportation to route through-truck traffic around the Downtown and city neighborhoods where possible. Assign and enforce designated truck routes for delivery of goods to appropriate locations within the city and utilize roadway design to control speed and noise. 

Policy CPP–2.6: Parking 

Develop parking standards that respond to land use and transportation conditions. Reduce or eliminate parking requirements in designated “Urban Centers” (see Chapter 4, FLUM) and develop reduced requirements for mixed use districts where alternatives to driving (such as transit) are available. In residential areas, explore strategies to use existing parking resources more efficiently and increase the supply of shared parking. 

Action CPP–2.6A: Residential Parking Management Strategies 

Explore and implement a range of residential parking management strategies such as amending the residential parking permit program, incentivizing fewer vehicles per household, facilitating shared parking (such as church or business parking lots during off hours), and promoting rear parking pad installations with stormwater management.

Policy CPP–2.7: Electric Vehicles and Supporting Infrastructure

Promote the expansion of private and public electric vehicles through the provision of supporting infrastructure. Install electric vehicle charging stations in public parking garages and encourage the requisite infrastructure in private developments and parking facilities. Make changes to Building and Zoning codes as needed.

Policy CPP–2.8: Transportation Innovation

Monitor and manage the effects of changing transportation technology on mobility, including the need for design changes to roads and traffic control systems. This includes the impacts of autonomous vehicles and connected vehicle technology, as well as the ongoing impacts of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), which provide prearranged transportation services using an online application or platform to connect drivers using their personal vehicles with passengers, such as Uber and Lyft. 


Objective: Design and maintain a public realm that is walkable, comfortable, beautiful, and interesting—and which encourages civic activity and interaction.

Policy CPP–3.1: Complete Streets

Design and build street improvements that serve a range of users and transportation modes. Where it is not possible to serve every mode on every street due to space constraints, safety, or other barriers, ensure that there is a continuous and complete network of facilities for each mode across the street system.

Policy CPP–3.2: Public Realm Design

Design, develop, and maintain high-quality public spaces for social interaction, connection to nature, and civic activities. The public realm, including parks, plazas, and streets, is a key part of the city’s identity and supports civic interaction and economic activity. Public spaces should incorporate creative design features, such as car-free streets, pocket parks, public art, murals, sidewalk cafes, and a mix of programmed and non-programmed spaces. These spaces should be welcoming, flexible, and designed with clear intent for their programming and operation.

Policy CPP–3.3: Walkability 

Recognize walkability as one of Lancaster City’s greatest competitive advantages. Actively strengthen this asset in ways that boost the economy, health, and environmental quality. 

Action CPP–3.3A: Downtown Walkability Analysis

Continue to implement the recommendations of the City’s Downtown Walkability Analysis. Seek ways to expand the main ideas in the report beyond the Downtown into other neighborhoods. 

Policy CPP–3.4: Streetscape

Use landscape design and tree planting to soften the built environment, enhance neighborhood appearance, and advance complementary City goals related to neighborhood improvement (see System 1) and environmental quality (see System 4). 

Action CPP–3.4A: Streetscape Guidelines

Update the Lancaster Streetscape Design Guidelines, which direct the look, feel, and function of physical upgrades in the City’s public rights of way. The guidelines should address features such as paving materials, tree boxes, planting areas, stormwater retention, lighting, benches, charging stations, bike racks, and shade. 

Policy CPP–3.5: Gateways and Wayfinding

Use public art, landscaping, trees, signage, and/or other design treatments to distinguish key gateways into the city and distinctive districts. Enhance pedestrian, bicycle, and driver wayfinding to help residents and visitors easily locate cultural sites, historic resources, recreational opportunities, public buildings, and other primary destinations.

Policy CPP–3.6: Signage 

Maintain signage regulations that complement and enhance the visual character of commercial and mixed-use districts. Limit the location and concentration of billboards in ways that maintain historic viewsheds and avoid visual clutter. 

Action CPP–3.6A: Billboard Regulations

Evaluate regulations for static and digital billboards, including potential prohibition of new billboards or amortization of existing billboards in specified locations. 

Action CPP–3.6B: Sign Ordinance

Evaluate and update the City’s sign ordinance to ensure it aligns with Comprehensive Plan policies and urban design objectives. Signs, even on private buildings and spaces, should enrich and enliven the public realm. 

Policy CPP–3.7: Crime Prevention through Environmental Design 

Incorporate Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles in the design of public and private space, creating spaces that contribute to personal safety and general security.

Policy CPP–3.8: Safe and Welcoming Downtown and Neighborhood Experience

Support community partnerships and organizations that contribute to a safe, welcoming, and positive experience in the Downtown and surrounding City neighborhoods. Downtown Investment District programs such as the Ambassadors and Clean Team, can serve as models for other growing neighborhoods. The Lancaster Office of Promotion and partners should also continue their focus on programming public spaces to ensure they are vibrant and well maintained.