Monthly Archives: July 2010

Barton predicts Food Lion store will be an oasis in a food desert

foodlionTom Barton wrote about the new Food Lion supermarket, slated for construction on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, in his Savannah Morning News Column yesterday and reveals it was his first encounter with the concept of a food desert, which he describes as “an area where residents must travel vast distances to do their grocery shopping.” Perhaps a better name for this neighborhood and others like it is a food swamp, “a geographic area where the overabundance of high-energy foods (for example, caloric snacks sold at convenience stores) inundate healthy food options.”

wholesomewaveWhatever the term, studies have linked the preponderance of unhealthy food in poorer urban (and rural) neighborhoods as a contributing factor in all sorts of health issues. Still, while Barton laments “the pitiful selection of produce” available at the Choose Market located near the site of the new store, it’s worth noting that some of the healthiest produce to be found anywhere in the region can be purchased just a couple blocks east.  The Forsyth Farmers Market is open every Saturday through Nov. 20. A program called Wholesome Wave, “doubles the value of Federal Food Stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” when used at the market.

Barton does make a good point, though, that the new Food Lion’s impact will go beyond nutrition, writing, “In terms of re-energizing this struggling corridor south of the I-16 flyover, this project isn’t just big. It’s humongous.” He’s also correct in has assessment of the store as a “big plus” for folks without cars.

Want to improve conditions for walking and cycling in Savannah? Have your say today!

bikeped

What four words would you use to describe a community that is ideal for bicycling? What four words would you use to describe a community that is ideal for walking (or using a wheelchair)? You can provide the answers to these questions and others designed to solicit input for the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Non-motorized Transportation Plan. What in the world is that?

Non-motorized transportation includes walking or using a wheelchair, bicycling, skating, and using pedicabs. The Non-motorized Transportation Plan, as part of the Total Mobility Plan, will serve as an update to the MPO’s Bikeway Plan of 2000 and as well as providing a plan now to address the needs of pedestrians, and other self-powered travelers. The Plan will be developed by:
•    Identifying needed improvements for the non-motorized modes;
•    Identifying areas for amenities to help create a human-scaled environment that encourages use of physically active modes;
•    Prioritizing improvements and identifying funding opportunities

A pedestrian survey and a bicycle survey are now available on the MPO Non-motorized Transportation Plan page. But July 22 is the last day to take the surveys, so hop to it. Also available is an interactive map that allows citizens to “report problem areas” or highlight “preferred routes and frequent destinations.”