Monthly Archives: September 2011

Sept. 27 forum will probe aldermanic candidates’ positions on sustainability

A forum for Savannah’s at-large aldermanic candidates is scheduled for Sept. 27 from 6-8 p.m. at the Coastal Georgia Center. The event is organized by the Savannah Bicycle Campaign and The Savannah Branch of the U.S. Green Building Council. Details from the Savannah Bicycle Campaign:

Alderman At-Large candidates will gather to field questions regarding their positions on transportation and sustainability issues. The forum is free and open to the public, will be moderated by Orlando Montoya, news producer with Georgia Public Broadcasting in Savannah, and Jim Morekis, editor-in-chief of Connect Savannah. Candidates will answer formal questions delivered by the moderators during the program before taking questions from the audience and from the media.

More information is available here.

In search of pure transportation

A family embarks on a "purely recreational" car trip.

A Sept. 6 story in the Savannah Morning News, “Regional body considering transportation tax projects Wednesday,” contains an interesting quote from a Georgia Department of Transportation official describing why the Coastal Georgia Greenway does not qualify for TSPLOST funding:

David Spear, spokesman for the department, said the tax is meant to fund transportation projects and the bike trail did not qualify because it was “purely recreational in nature.”

This is, of course, untrue as CGG leader Jo Claire Hickson points out. As in other parts of the country, where similar facilities have been built, they are used by commuters and are never “purely recreational.”

Sill, Spear’s quote got me thinking. If trips that are “purely recreational” are not appropriate uses, then a lot of traffic should be banned from roads and bridges that would be funded by TSPLOST. Recreational vehicles would be prohibited from using transportation facilities, right? After all, their purpose is “purely recreational.” It’s right there in the name of the thing. Passenger cars carrying families on vacation or even local folks heading to a picnic in Daffiin Park or a day on Tybee could be excluded, too. Again, these trips are “purely recreational” in nature. Savannah would lose millions of visitors and the local tourism industry would evaporate overnight, but at least we can be confident that TSPLOST funding won’t be wasted to facilitate “purely recreational” trips.

 

Third annual Midnight Garden Ride will raise funds for bicycle advocacy and education

Drew Wade, chairman of the Savannah Bicycle Campaign, has conceived an idea that has grown over the last three years into one of Savannah’s most unique events. It doesn’t really happen at midnight, but the Midnight Garden Ride will get underway at dusk on Saturday, Sept. 3 and allow many participants to do something they might not normally: ride their bikes at night.

There are cyclists on Savannah’s streets at all times of day and night, of course, but the spectacle of 700 or more people riding bicycles as night falls is something else altogether. As I wrote in this week’s  Savannah “News Cycle” column, “It’s sociable and empowering at the same time. The sight of hundreds of bicycles with blinking lights and other decorations makes it more like a parade than anything else.” This year’s event has moved to Forsyth Park and expanded to include a concert cospresented by Savannah Stopover. Back again are the popular costume and best lighting rig contests and raffle.

While the event is certainly fun, it also allows import efforts to make our community better. Funds raised through registration and other event activities help the Savannah Bicycle Campaign toward its mission:

“Our primary objectives are education for cyclists and motorists about the best ways to share the road, advocacy for improved bicycle facilities in Chatham County, and promoting bicycling as a healthy, safe activity for recreation and sustainable transportation. Ultimately, through an inclusive approach, we will make our communities more livable, connected & safe. These are our goals, and we hope that you will join us.”Our primary objectives are education for cyclists and motorists about the best ways to share the road, advocacy for improved bicycle facilities in Chatham County, and promoting bicycling as a healthy, safe activity for recreation and sustainable transportation. Ultimately, through an inclusive approach, we will make our communities more livable, connected and safe. These are our goals, and we hope that you will join us.”

Does that sound like something you support? If yes, you know where you should be on Saturday night.