Project DeRenne, too, sought to balance the needs of regional drivers, local drivers and residents who live along the corridor. When DeRenne Avenue became a major route for commuters from western counties, the effects on the neighborhoods it bisects are manifested in both easily recognizable and more subtle ways.
On a sunday morning in January 2008, I tried to document the details of a landscape that most people try to ignore. Here’s what I wrote at that time:
“When a streetscape is designed to maximize the flow of motor vehicles the results are as predictable as they are ugly. Yet we may not comprehend how desolate the built environment becomes when it is designed exclusively to move cars. Traffic becomes a distraction, drawing our attention away from the ways that it degrades the spaces, public and private, at the edge of the roadway. But when we strip away the cars, we can see how much damage they have done. If we continue to put the needs of cars ahead of the needs of people, we’ll get more of the same and likely worse.”
Almost five years later, has anything changed on DeRenne Avenue?
“The environmental advocate made famous by her fight against tainted groundwater in California will appear at Love’s Seafood this week to kick off an investigation and to support the Ogeechee Riverkeeper.”
The Savannah Food Day Festival, held last year in Mother Matilda Beasley Park, has a new home in Daffin Park this Sunday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. The event features food, of course, along with a transplanted Forsyth Farmers Market (Don’t worry, the farmers market will keep its normal hours in Forsyth Park on Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.). Children’s activities and musical performances are also on the agenda. The Savannah Bicycle Campaign will offer its popular Bike Valet service. A complete schedule and more information is available on the Savannah Food Day Festival website.
Today on his blog Savannah Morning News columnist Bill Dawers examines a story, Ordinance aims to hike driver fines in Chatham County, published in his paper yesterday. In particular, Bill notes “the article is already spawning the same sort of pedestrian-bashing that begins anytime such ordinances are suggested.”
In fact, these types of comments show up reliably on any story having anything to do with pedestrians (or cyclists). The most offensive generally follow news of a person being killed by another person driving a car. The three most common themes are:
People who get hit by cars generally deserve it.
Increased jaywalking enforcement, instead of initiatives targeting drivers, will improve pedestrian safety.
People should always use crosswalks and sidewalks, even when they do not exist.
It occurred to me that Bill and I have written a lot about pedestrian safety over the years. In reviewing my posts, I’m reminded that quite a few from the list below refer to his newspaper columns:
It can be discouraging to write about the same dangerous street designs, misguided law enforcement strategies, insufficient media coverage, and ignorant and mean spirited comments over and over. Still, there is reason to hope that our state can improve safety and usability for all users now that the Georgia Department of Transportation has adopted a Complete Streets policy.
The Savannah Riverkeeper’s Third Annual Roast on the River event is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 20 and organizers sent out a “last chance to register” announcement this morning. Held at Hogan’s Marina on Wilmington Island, the event begins at 6:30 p.m. and features drinks, oysters, Low Country Boil and a silent auction. Tickets may be purchased through the SRK website.