Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is another study necessary? What
happened to the information developed in the earlier studies? Why not use the
money spent on this study to build the road instead? Why spend the effort looking
for a new answer, what could have changed?
2. How much will this study cost? What
was spent on previous projects?
3. We need relief now. When is this going
to be finished?
4. What is the decision making process?
Who will make the final decision? When will the decision be made?
5 .What Resource Agencies will PENNDOT
and LCPC be consulting with as they follow the 10 Step Process and NEPA?
6. How can the people make their voice
heard? Will public opinion carry as much weight as the politicians?
7. We know the Amish are reluctant to
participate in public forums; how are their concerns going to be considered?
1. What is wrong with taking X minutes
to get from location A to B? That does not seem like a big enough problem to warrant
a new road.
2. Many trucks use Route 23 as a way to
avoid paying the toll on the Turnpike. Will this be taken into consideration in
3. How are traffic signals coordinated?
4. How is the quality of traffic flow
on a roadway with traffic signals measured?
5. What factors affect the performance of coordinated traffic signals?
6. What are the limitations of traffic signal coordination?
7. Can signal interconnection improve congestion on PA 23 in the long term?
1. Where can I get copies of the study
2. Why is farming (Lancaster's most
important "industry") not considered along with other industries in
assessing business needs and impacts?
3. Tourism is important to Lancaster's
economy. Tourism depends on preserving the Plain Sect culture. At the same time,
tourism also depends on adequate facilities (in this case, roads) to get the tourists
to the "sites." But the very building of those facilities destroys the
resource on which the tourism depends.
1. Land use controls are too open to political
pressures; they are not a sure way of controlling development.
2. Aren't some of the Amish leaving the county
and selling their land to developers?
3. How will the Urban Growth Boundaries be
incorporated into this study? Are current Land Use practices following the UGB's?
1. Finish the Goat Path; it's the obvious
2. If the Goat Path is not finished, will
the land be returned to the farmers?
3. Why do we need a new road? Building
a new road will only lead to more development, which leads to more demands for
services, which leads to more development which leads to the need for more roads.
4. Will improvements to Route 23 be part
of the outcome, even if there is another new road built?
Why is another study necessary? What happened to the information developed in
the earlier studies? Why not use the money spent on this study to build the road
instead? Why spend the effort looking for a new answer, what could have changed?
Earlier studies of Route 23 began in the 1960's and eventually resulted in
a by-pass designed to extend from US 30 to New Holland. A portion of the roadway
was constructed from US 30 to PA 772 in Leola. Construction was halted due to
lack of funds and public consensus on the project. In 1977, the partially built
roadway was planted and portions of it are currently leased to adjacent farmers
for grazing; today, it is commonly known as the "Goat Path." The 1990's
saw the project revived with studies undertaken as part of the NEPA process.
The PA 23 EIS Project currently underway is different from previous studies
because it recognizes the public's perception of problems and deficiencies in
the transportation network, it does not assume that the solution to these problems
will be a new roadway or bypass. Federal transportation planning legislation and
regulations enacted in the early 1990's (The Intermodal Surface Transportation
Efficiency Act, (ISTEA) and TEA-21) created a new way of looking at significant
transportation improvements. These guidelines call for establishing a partnership
between the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Planning
Organizations (in this case, the Lancaster County Transportation Coordinating
Committee) to look at responding to transportation needs. The Corridor Study (MIS)
conducted from 1997 to 1999 differed from previous studies, in that it looked
at a broad area of approximately 162 sq miles and identified existing and future
transportation problems in the area. The Corridor Study identified PA 23 as having
current transportation problems unlike other areas that were identified as having
potential future transportation problems. The EIS study differs from previous
studies in that it will consider multiple modes of transportation (car, transit,
rail, non-motorized, etc.) and additionally will examine where land use and growth
management strategies can respond to or control transportation needs.
The PA 23 EIS Project calls for a careful analysis of the traffic and transportation
"needs" (problems) to ensure that any solutions developed will address
the real issues. As an agency using Federal funding, PENNDOT is required to complete
a NEPA study to document the changes that may result from any of the transportation
solutions, therefore the previous studies had to be completed. However, much of
the information produced during the previous studies will be useful in the current
study. For example, a Cultural Resource Plan, which was developed in the early
1990's, provides a base of information (focused on East Earl and Intercourse)
and the study methodology that will guide the cultural resource analysis in this
study. There is also data from earlier traffic studies, which will be applied
to this study. In some instances, changes in the regulatory requirements or accepted
study methodologies over time mean that new information will have to be collected.
How much will this study cost? What was spent on previous projects?
The studies and partial construction of the facility which is currently known
as the "Goat Path" cost $9 million in 1974. Funds allocated for the
PA 23 Corridor Study (MIS) totaled $1.5 million. Approximately two years was spent
analyzing the existing and future transportation "needs" (problems)
and developing alternative solutions for addressing those needs. Currently, $13
million dollars is programmed on the Lancaster County Transportation Improvement
Program to complete the preliminary engineering phase and final design phase.
At this time construction costs cannot be determined since an alternative has
not been identified.
We need relief now. When is this going to be finished?
There are several intersection projects listed on the current Transportation
Improvement Plan (TIP) which may provide some relief soon.
of the PA 23 EIS Project will be the Record of Decision (ROD) on the project by the Federal
Highway Administration. If the ROD selects a build alternative, transportation
improvements will need to be included in the State and County's Transportation
Improvement Plan (TIP) for funding and scheduling. Because the extent and nature
of the projects that will emerge from the study is not known, it is not possible
to schedule the funding or implementation for those potential projects. The County
and PENNDOT share residents' desire for expediency and believe that by following
a careful process with extensive public involvement, the outcome will be a project
that best responds to the area's existing and future transportation needs.
What is the decision making process? Who will make the final decision? When will
the decision be made?
The PA 23 EIS Project is intended to be a cooperative and collaborative process
involving the public, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT), the
Lancaster County Transportation Coordinating Committee (LCTCC), the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA), environmental resource agencies, local transit operators,
and area elected officials. PENNDOT and LCTCC will follow PENNDOT's Ten Step Process
to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and narrow the range
of alternatives to the selected alternative. FHWA is responsible for issuing the
final decision on the selected alternative through a Record of Decision (ROD).
It will be the responsibility of PENNDOT to follow through on Final Design and
Construction (if necessary) of the selected alternative. It will be the responsibility
of LCTCC to recommend and follow through with the municipalities to incorporate
the Land Use Plan associated with the transportation alternative.
What Resource Agencies will PENNDOT and LCPC be consulting with as they follow
the 10 Step Process and NEPA?
Throughout the PA 23 EIS Project, the project sponsors will be consulting with
various Federal and State regulatory agencies who would be involved in the development
of any project(s) that come out of the study. These agencies include:
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- US Army Corps of Engineers (COE)
- US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
- National Park Service (NPS)
- PA Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP)
- PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA DCNR)
- PA Game Commission (PGC)
- PA Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC)
- PA Department of Agriculture (PDA)
- PA Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC)
- PA Department of Community and Economic Development (PA DCED)
How can the people make their voice heard? Will public opinion carry as much weight
as the politicians?
Public involvement is fundamental to the PA 23 EIS Project. The objectives
of the public involvement effort are to present information in a timely, accurate
and easily understandable manner and to incorporate public concerns and ideas
into the decision-making process. The goal is to develop transportation improvements
associated with land use that best meet the defined problems (also called "needs")
while being responsive to the community interests and concerns.
Input provided by study area residents, business persons, and officials will
be considered with equal regard during the study process. There will be a concerted
effort made both to present study information to the public and to listen and
learn about the public's opinion on the reasonableness of various improvements
alternatives. PENNDOT's Public Involvement Handbook outlines recommendations to
involve the public. NEPA requires that a Draft Environmental Impact Statement
(DEIS) be circulated for comment and be made available to the public and agencies.
A public hearing is provided to document comments on the DEIS. A response to everyone
that provided comments at the public hearing will be contained within the Final
Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). Incorporating the special concerns of non-motorized
travelers, in addition to motorists, will be an important element in this EIS.
The FEIS is also circulated for comments. It will be the goal of the public involvement
program to involve the public throughout the process. It will be very important
to consult with the public on specialized, local concerns. Following are primary
ways for members of the public to get information, get involved and provide input:
a. Public Meeting - These meetings
are to be held at major milestones at convenient locations throughout the study
area. Project team members will be available to the public to explain project
concepts and issues and to document concerns. Comment forms and questionnaires
will be available at each meeting.
b. Public Hearing - A hearing is scheduled
after the DEIS has been made available to the public for review. The hearing provides
a forum for comments on the DEIS to be documented.
c. Newsletter - The publication of
newsletters will occur when new information is developed.
d. Web Page - The County's Web page
includes a section on the PA 23 EIS Project. This includes cumulative information
on studies and meetings, announcements of future meetings, and a comment form.
The address is http://www.PAROUTE23.com.
e. Direct Communication -Members of
the public can address any comments or information about the study to Mark Malhenzie
(PENNDOT Project Manager), PENNDOT District 8-0, 2140 Herr Street, Harrisburg,
PA 17103-1699 or Douglas H. Warfel, P.E. (Vice President), KCI Technologies,
Inc., 5001 Louise Drive, Suite 201, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055.
f. Special Meetings - Study team members
are available to meet with organizations or groups that want to discuss issues
of particular interest. To make arrangements, contact Douglas H. Warfel, P.E. at KCI
Technologies, Inc. at 717-691-1340.
g. Study Groups - Technical advisory
groups were created for this study and include representatives of broad-based
community organizations and interests. Three study groups were developed by merging
the seven study groups previously organized for the PA 23 EIS Corridor Study which
were as follows: Historical and Archaeological Resources; Farmland and Natural
Resources Study Group; Economic Vitality, Finance, and Transportation Alternatives
Study Group; and Land Use and Growth Management and Government Study Group.
h. Community Advisory Committee (CAC) -
The Community Advisory Committee was created to facilitate the timely exchange
of pertinent ideas and accurate project information between the project team and
community. The CAC membership reflects the diverse and valuable local interests
within and immediately adjacent to the project area.
7. We know the Amish are reluctant to participate in public forums; how are their
concerns going to be considered?
The Project Team recognizes that speaking out at public meetings is not always
a comfortable way for members of the Old Order Communities (Amish and Mennonites)
to voice their concerns. At the same time, members of these communities have said
that they prefer to speak for themselves, rather than have outsiders represent
their views and interests. Therefore, the Project Team is working closely with
members of the Old Order Communities to find ways to promote their involvement
and input. During the Corridor Study there were several meetings conducted specifically
within the Old Order Communities and Study Team members met with a group of Amish
Bishops. These types of gatherings in informal settings will continue throughout
the PA 23 EIS Project.
What is wrong with taking X minutes to get from location A to B? That does not
seem like a big enough problem to warrant a new road.
The PA 23 Corridor Study and PA 23 EIS Project arose to address three perceived
problems: (1) congestion and safety problems arising from the conflicts between
the motorized and non-motorized vehicles on the road; (2) increasing use of parallel,
secondary roads to avoid congestion; and (3) the potential for congestion to affect
the retention of jobs in the region. The studies undertaken for the PA 23 area
do not start with the conclusion that a new road is necessarily an answer to traffic
problems within the PA 23 Corridor. The No-Build or upgrade of existing PA 23
is just as viable as a new alignment. All factors contributing to the identified
transportation problems or needs are to be considered and addressed in the decision
Many trucks use Route 23 as a way to avoid paying the toll on the Turnpike. Will
this be taken into consideration in the study?
Traffic origin and destination studies conducted for this project do not support
this claim. In general, the PA 23 corridor does not serve much through traffic,
including trucks and passenger vehicles. Between 80 and 90 percent of the traffic
in the corridor is local, with an origin or destination in the study area. Therefore,
much traffic diversion to and from other regional corridors (with the exception
of U.S. 222) is not likely. Truck volumes are high in certain portions of the
corridor, and will be accounted for in the study. However, there is no need to
address the issue of trucks using the corridor to avoid tolls on the Turnpike.
How are traffic signals coordinated?
Traffic signals are coordinated by electronically synchronizing the green
phase for the major road based upon the speed of traffic flow and the cycle
length of the traffic signals. The green period of each successive traffic
signal is adjusted in time to reduce the number of stops and the length of
How is the quality of traffic flow on a roadway with traffic signals measured?
The first measure of quality of traffic flow is the level of service of the
roadway itself, which reflects how traffic would flow in the absence of traffic
signals. It measures the percentage of time spent traveling below the posted
speed limit. In areas where traffic signals are installed, they tend to control
traffic flow in their immediate vicinity. In those areas a second measure is
used. It is based upon the delays a motorist may expect to encounter traveling
through the signalized intersection. This measure is based upon the amount
of total delay, which includes stopped time and time spent slowing down and
speeding up from a red signal indication.
What factors affect the performance of coordinated traffic signals?
Anything that changes the assumed average speed between the signalized intersections
will affect the performance of the system. These factors include, but are not
limited to: on-street parking, roadway lane widths, number of trucks and heavy
vehicles, number of access points, and slower moving vehicles (including non-motorized).
Since the analyses tools are not capable of accounting for all of these factors,
travel time studies are conducted to confirm the average speed, and the analysis
tools are modified to adjust to those speeds as measured in the field. While
coordination can be of benefit to some roadway corridors, there is also a detriment.
The side streets will receive more red time as the major roadway receives timing
preference. The effect to each motorist will be different based on origin and
What are the limitations of traffic signal coordination?
While traffic signal coordination can reduce stops and travel delays along
a particular corridor, travel along PA 23 will not experience continuous free-flow
conditions due to:
- Capacity issues resulting from increased growth and subsequent traffic;
- Presence of over 1,000 access points, roughly one every 70 feet, along
the 14-mile corridor;
- Presence of heavy trucks and slow moving vehicles in the traffic stream;
- Irregularly spaced traffic signals;
- Heavy demand by trucks needing to access properties along PA 23;
- Heavy volume of left turn traffic at the signalized intersections and
left turns into driveways that interrupt traffic flow and slow acceleration
starts by heavy vehicles; and
- Pedestrian crossings at intersections.
Can signal interconnection improve congestion on PA 23 in the long term?
There are currently 23 signalized intersections along PA 23 from US 30 to
US 322. Based on the unique characteristics of the PA 23 corridor described
above, the benefits of traffic signal coordination that might be achievable
elsewhere are not anticipated to be achievable along PA 23 with future traffic
volumes. Historically, there has been linear development along PA 23, and input
received from stakeholders indicates that this linear development pattern is
preferred for the future. Therefore, it is highly probable that several more
signals will be required on PA 23 in the coming years as that development occurs.
Overall, more diversion of traffic to side roads to avoid traffic congestion
on PA 23 is expected in the future, even if some of the added signals may improve
Where can I get copies of the study maps?
Area study maps can be viewed on the Web site PAROUTE23.com.
Why is farming (Lancaster's most important "industry") not considered
along with other industries in assessing business needs and impacts?
For this study, farming is recognized as a business that not only includes
the actual farm operations, but also various support services and businesses that
are very significant contributors to the regional economy, culture and way of
life. The Study Team is attempting to analyze the value of agriculture and agricultural-related
businesses to the PA 23 EIS Study Area. The Study Team is working towards quantifying
the value of this industry and to develop a methodology for quantifying impact
of proposed transportation improvements on this industry.
Tourism is important to Lancaster's economy. Tourism depends on preserving the
Plain Sect culture. At the same time, tourism also depends on adequate facilities
(in this case, roads) to get the tourists to the "sites." But the very
building of those facilities destroys the resource on which the tourism depends.
During the PA 23 Corridor Study Public Meetings this point was raised several
times. It illustrates the dynamic connection between transportation and land use
planning. The PA 23 EIS Project will be looking at a variety of options for meeting
transportation needs and supporting economic vitality, while preserving the unique
cultural heritage of the area and managing the land use implications of any proposed
Land use controls are too open to political pressures; they are not a sure way
of controlling development.
Commonwealth law prescribes that land use decisions be primarily made on the
local (municipal) level, an approach that is considered responsive to the desires
of the local citizens. However, Lancaster County has taken a proactive role in
land use planning by working cooperatively with municipalities to define growth
boundaries. Both the County and the municipalities agree that growth will be targeted
to occur within Urban Growth Boundaries and discouraged outside them. The PA 23
EIS Project is looking at the interaction between land use policies and the transportation
demands. An outcome of the study may be recommendations on growth management strategies
which would support the community's vision for land use in the future should municipalities
choose to implement.
Aren't some of the Amish leaving the county and selling their land to developers?
The County's Growth Tracking System indicates that farmland is indeed being
sold and developed for more intensive uses. At the same time, the Amish population
has grown, doubling each decade in the past 30 years. These trends have caused
the demand and price of farmland to climb to roughly $5,000 to $7,000 an acre.
Part of the demand for land within the Amish community has been met by Amish families
buying land from Mennonite farmers who are increasingly pursuing other business
enterprises. In some cases, Amish farmers have also developed other non-farming
income opportunities on the farm. However, members of the Old Order Communities
have reported that some families are leaving the area to find less expensive farmland
still available in places like Kentucky and Wisconsin.
How will the Urban Growth Boundaries be incorporated into this study? Are current
Land Use practices following the UGB's?
The Urban Growth Boundaries (UGBs) and Village Growth Boundaries (VGBs) have
been established as a way to focus growth in targeted areas. As part of the PA
23 EIS Project, the UGBs and VGBs will be examined for their effectiveness in
supporting existing and proposed land use policies. Early analysis showed that
in some cases, infrastructure improvements (particularly sewer extensions), which
tend to encourage development, have been supplied outside the UGB areas.
Finish the Goat Path; it's the obvious answer.
Many people who came to the Public Meetings for the PA Route 23 Corridor Study
expected that the completion of the Goat Path would appear as a solution on the
map. That is not the case - at least, not at this point. The PA 23 EIS Project
is looking at a range of alternatives, some of which do not include the “goat
The PA 23 EIS Project will evaluate all alternatives looking at both transportation
and land use planning techniques. The analysis of transportation will involve
engineering development of alternatives to minimize impacts to resources and support
the proposed land use. The land use analysis will develop land use tools appropriate
for the transportation alternatives. At this time in the study, it is impossible
to say if the completion of the Goat Path will emerge as the reasonable and effective
solution to the area's transportation needs.
If the Goat Path is not finished, will the land be returned to the farmers?
The PA Department of Transportation purchased the land as right-of-way for
a roadway project that was intended to connect Route 30 and Route 772. If completion
of the Goat Path does not emerge as a recommendation of this study, it would be
up to the Department to decide if they would sell the property. It should be noted
that the land is primarily suitable for grazing and could not be easily returned
to cultivation since a roadway sub-base was constructed.
Why do we need a new road? Building a new road will only lead to more development,
which leads to more demands for services, which leads to more development which
leads to the need for more roads.
A new road is not a guaranteed outcome of the project development process.
The PA 23 Corridor Study and PA 23 EIS Project arose to address three transportation
needs. These needs include:
- To improve the safety conditions at select intersections and roadway sections
that currently exhibit high crash rates.
- To improve the operational efficiency of the existing transportation system.
- To accommodate future mobility needs for the safe and efficient movement
of people and goods.
The studies undertaken for the PA 23 area do not start with the conclusion
that a new road is necessarily an answer to traffic problems within the PA 23
Corridor. An important component of the EIS project is the inclusion of a land
use study which will recommend strategies to control land use. The strategies
will need to be adopted by the municipalities to be effective. Another part of
the PA 23 EIS Project will consists of an analysis of the secondary and cumulative
impacts that could reasonably be expected to arise as the indirect result of any
improvements or changes in the existing transportation system. An important objective
of the public involvement process is to define a consensus on the values and interest
which people want to shape their community and to develop transportation improvement
alternatives which can address a balance of conflicting interests (such as the
desire to both maintain existing rural lifestyles and encourage economic vitality).
Will improvements to PA Route 23 be part of the outcome, even if there is another
new road built?
It is conceivable that the outcome of the PA 23 EIS Study will include multiple
strategies or projects to deal with transportation needs over the next 30 years.
There may be one large project or a collection of smaller improvements. If improvements
to existing Route 23 are considered, it will be important to measure the expected
benefits against the impacts to existing home ands businesses.