Greenfield Road traffic 3

Traffic on Greenfield Road at the intersection with Hempstead Road.

THE ISSUE

Some eventual relief is on the way for drivers who use Greenfield Road around Route 30 in East Lampeter Township. “The state and the High companies intend to build a $15.3 million road on part of the ‘goat path’ as a quicker, calmer alternative to ... one of the county’s worst traffic bottlenecks,” Tim Mekeel reported in this week’s Sunday LNP. Construction of the 1.1-mile road could begin toward the end of 2021 and would take about a year. “The new road, expected to carry 500 to 600 vehicles per hour at peak times, will have one lane in each direction, separated by an 8-foot grass median. The speed limit will be 35 miles per hour,” Mekeel added.

This is great news for those who must regularly navigate this region of Lancaster County.

We do, on occasion, gripe about the county’s traffic congestion. But the truth seems to be that some (though not all) of our routes are getting better.

In Tuesday’s LNP, Jeff Hawkes noted that “traffic congestion in Lancaster County ... has leveled off in the past three years and remains down from its peak in 2012,” per a new county report. There’s still much progress to be made, but it’s important to note that good people are working to solve the problems that can frustrate us during our daily drives.

And one of those thorniest trips involves Greenfield Road at Route 30. It is, to be kind, a hot mess. “At rush hour, dozens of cars idle at traffic lights and on ramps onto the bypass,” Mekeel wrote in Sunday LNP.

The solution will be a new road that’s just over a mile long — but could make a world of difference. Here’s how Mekeel describes it: “The two-lane road will begin where the ‘goat path’ starts — at the eastern end of Walnut Street. A new bridge will take this extension of Walnut Street over Millcross Road. The Walnut Street extension, a state road, will end at a roundabout. There it will connect to a new township road, Ben Franklin Boulevard, and go to Greenfield Road.”

Officials believe this project — for which we still must wait about three years — could reduce rush-hour traffic on Greenfield Road by up to 50%. That sounds great to us, and a wise use of funds. Regarding that cost, $12.2 million would come from the state and “High is pledging $3.1 million, mostly for design costs, and other expenses related to rights of way and utility relocation,” Mekeel reported.

We applaud the High companies for that generous contribution to improving Lancaster County.

Another plus: More than just drivers will benefit from this project. The Walnut Street extension “will include a trail as part of the Greater Lancaster Heritage Pathway, now being developed,” Mekeel reported, adding that “the pathway, open to hikers and bicyclists, will connect Lancaster city to its eastern and western suburbs.”

As we noted in March, large-scale trails bring together all of the disparate aspects that make Lancaster great. It is gratifying to see pieces of the Lancaster Active Transportation Plan continue to fall into place.

And as LNP’s Tim Stuhldreher wrote in March, “Active transportation can yield economic benefits, too: Improving recreational opportunities can boost tourism, while promoting bicycle and pedestrian access to shopping areas can bring additional business.”

Indeed, this little 1-mile road looks to be a win on many fronts for our county.

Porch pirates

Now from goat paths to grinches.

In Sunday LNP, staff writer Hurubie Meko wrote about the “porch pirates” who swipe packages that are delivered to us and left on our patios or near our front doors.

In one national survey, 36% of respondents said they had a package stolen over the past 12 months.

“Lancaster city police made ‘theft of packages from porches’ its own category in February,” Meko reported, and thefts that once spiked during the year-end holidays are now occurring with the same frequency year-round, police said.

This is a terrible shame. Our neighborhoods should be safe enough that these packages are not at great risk of theft.

Meko’s article offered tips on what we can do to avoid package theft.

We outlined our privacy concerns with Ring, a popular doorbell-camera company, in a September editorial. It can be a costly way to protect packages, and the even greater cost might be the surveillance data surrendered to big tech companies.

And, please, don’t have packages delivered to your workplace, unless your boss has given you the go-ahead.

But here are some tips we do like for thwarting those porch pirates:

— Request the package be left in a designated area of your property. Most e-commerce websites allow you to add shipment notes before purchasing an item.

— Ask your doorman or apartment staff to hold your deliveries.

— Set up delivery notifications when ordering. These allow you to keep track of a package in real time, including when it arrives at your home.

— Ask a neighbor to pick up your packages when you’re away.

It’s also important for victims of package theft to report it, even if the item wasn’t costly.

“Reporting incidents allows the police to be made aware of problems, problem locations or even the ability to link crimes together,” East Lampeter Township police Lt. Matthew Hess told LNP.

It’s awful that fighting crime has trickled down to protecting packages delivered to our residences. Such theft is decidedly humbug behavior.