Downtown 2040 Master Plan



In 2017 and 2018, the City worked on a plan to address the future growth and development of Downtown. The Downtown 2040 plan builds on the successes achieved by the implementation of the 2000 Downtown & Riverfront Master Plan (below) and sets even greater goals for the next 20 years.  Lynchburg's City Council adopted this plan on November 13, 2018.

Community outreach and participation were fundamental components in developing the Downtown 2040 Plan and guided the team’s recommendations.  Engagement and outreach included:  Project webpage, kick-off event where attendees learned about “why place matters” and “loving the place you live,” on-line survey with over 900 responses, five public listening sessions, twelve pop-up events around the city, and a three day design workshop.

Click here to download the full plan document




In 2040, Downtown Lynchburg will be a bustling and thriving urban core; the economic, social, and cultural hub of Central Virginia – a destination for visitors and a livable neighborhood for residents. Both locals and tourists alike will enjoy a diverse offering of retail, restaurants, and recreational activities set in a Downtown rich with historic architecture, unique topography and vibrant public spaces. This is the exciting atmosphere that makes Downtown Lynchburg the heart of the region.


Local Historic District. In order to protect its greatest assets, architecture and character, Downtown Lynchburg will be a local historic district. Accompanied by Downtown-specific guidelines that allow for new and modern building types, this designation will ensure the long-term protection of Downtown architecture, saving them from inappropriate treatment and demolition.

Adaptive Reuse. Vacant and underutilized historic buildings will be reimagined and see new life through adaptive reuse initiatives


Parks & Gathering Areas. Significant open space and recreation destinations will attract visitors, drive growth and enhance the livability of Downtown for residents. Trails. Trails and key streetscape improvements will create exciting and memorable walks in and around Downtown.

Streets as Public Space. Streets will be treated as important public spaces with landscaping, seating, public art and other elements that make them great places to be and foster public life.



Park Once! Visitors will leave their cars and explore Downtown’s walkable streets. Downtown’s streets will be enhanced through streetscaping, mixed-use development, amenities and improved transportation options to move people uphill.

Parking Wayfinding. A wayfinding system will clearly indicate where on-street public parking is located. As identified in four separate parking studies since 2000, Downtown Lynchburg does not suffer from a parking shortfall, but rather a communication issue.

On-Street Paid Parking. Paid on-street parking will create turnover in the most convenient spaces near destinations and discourage drivers from circling the block, reducing traffic. Paid on-street parking would be offset by free (1-2 hour) parking in the City’s public lots.

Market-Driven Parking Approach. Downtown will not require parking for development. Lynchburg included, many successful cities have eliminated minimum parking requirements to encourage investment and revitalization. This will allow the market to be the driving force of parking supply.

Mixed-Use Parking Development. Future and renovated garages will be mixed-use buildings that contribute to the street environment.

Parking in 2040. A side effect of Downtown success will be a struggle to accommodate a parking space for every Downtown visitor, resident or employee. Transit with reduced headways, mobility hubs with park and ride options, bike share, and transit-oriented housing will provide options to travel Downtown without a car. Meet George Jetson! In 2040, shared autonomous vehicles will be a regular sight on Downtown streets, dramatically reducing parking demand.


Business Development. Through public private partnerships, the City will work to attract and direct business investments to ensure that Downtown contains businesses and tenants that fill current retail gaps, drive employment, amplify anchors and activate vacant storefronts.

Marketing. Targeted marketing strategies will be deployed to capture available markets.


Downtown streets are where people meet, sit, eat, socialize, conduct business, explore, play and more. Downtown streets will be “complete,” moving more than just cars. They will move people on foot, bikes and transit while creating a welcoming atmosphere.

Walkability. Everyone in Downtown is a pedestrian. Whether they drive, bike or take transit—everyone becomes a pedestrian eventually. Walking is the most critical component of Downtown revitalization and will be reinforced with every project.

Vehicular Circulation. Two-way is the way forward! Downtown is the place where people go to, not drive through. Two-way streets slow traffic, provide for pedestrian safety, improve circulation and provide every business the equal ability to be seen. Deliveries can be accomplished easily with strategically located and timed delivery zones that can be converted to on-street parking at different hours of the day. Two-way traffic improves circulation and accessibility as construction on Downtown waterlines continues.

Transit Facilities. Transit facilities that people want to ride will help unlock Downtown growth as less space will be needed for parking. Transit will both move people efficiently up Downtown’s steep hills and connect Downtown to neighborhoods, colleges and regional transportation hubs.

Multimodal. A fancy word for transportation options! Whether people, walk, bike, ride the bus or drive a car, each type of transportation will be interconnected to give visitors and residents options to travel to, from and within Downtown. People will have the option to walk a trail, share a bike, ride a bus or hop on an autonomous vehicle to get where they need to go.


Utility Replacements. Downtown will have updated, well-functioning utilities that can accommodate significant growth. Replacement schedule and project construction will be methodical, well-communicated and cause the minimal disruption necessary.

Streetscapes. Streets will be rebuilt to accommodate amenities that create a vibrant street environment and incorporate authentic, high-quality materials that showcase Lynchburg’s past.

Refuse. Downtown will have a more organized and orderly trash and recycling program that creates a clean and enjoyable environment.

Safety. Downtown will be known as a safe, well-serviced and inviting area of the city.


Gateways. Significant entrances to Downtown will create exciting and memorable arrival experiences and invite travelers to reach the area by a variety of travel modes.

Neighborhoods. Lynchburg’s neighborhoods will be better connected to Downtown.

Colleges. Both Downtown and the college communities will benefit from enhanced transportation connections, student-oriented amenities and physical presences.

Regional Transportation. Downtown will have direct connections to Amtrak, Greyhound and the Lynchburg Airport to facilitate visitor access.