Lancaster city will receive a $700,000 state grant to make safety improvements along South Duke Street, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced this week.
City officials have been planning to overhaul South Duke Street since before the pandemic. Motorists frequently speed up and down its long straightaway, leading to frequent crashes; neighborhood residents also complain about poor lighting and deteriorated sidewalks.
To improve the corridor, the city envisions creating a new 10-foot-wide shared path for pedestrians and cyclists, separated from motor vehicle lanes; along with new pedestrian intersection crossings, a new bus shelter, enhanced lighting, and extending back-in “angle” parking along the corridor.
Redoing South Duke Street has the potential to create “exceptional positive change” for the Mussertown, Churchtowne and Conestoga Heights neighborhoods that it runs through, the city said in a 2022 project report.
PennDOT previously provided Lancaster a $1.225 million grant for the South Duke Street project. The new grant comes in addition to that. It is one of 39 grants statewide totaling $13 million being made through PennDOT’s Automated Red Light Enforcement program, which puts fines from red light violations toward projects aimed at improving traffic safety.
Coincidentally, the city has scheduled an open house on Wednesday evening for the community to see the plans for South Duke Street, along with three other upcoming streetscape projects in the Southeast: South Ann & Juniata streets; Broad and Chesapeake streets; and Church Street.
For Church Street, as with South Duke Street, the city is looking at building a separated shared-use path for pedestrians and cyclists. Plans for Broad Street and Chesapeake Street include protected bicycle lanes, while the vision for South Ann and Juniata streets includes intersection enhancements, additional lighting and sidewalk repairs.
All the projects will contribute toward the city’s “Vision Zero” initiative, which aims to reduce crash fatalities to zero by 2030.
The open house is a “drop-in event,” with community members invited to stop by anytime between 4 and 7 p.m. at the cafeteria at Martin Luther King Elementary School, 466 Rockland St. They will be able to see renderings and design concepts and chat with city staff. Light refreshments will be served.