Category Archives: Neighborhoods

As plans are unveiled for an elevated expressway on Abercorn, DeRenne remains in limbo

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It’s been some time since Project DeRenne has made the news. The last mention I could find of the once-much-talked-about plan to alter Savannah’s DeRenne Avenue is a WSAV-TV story from July: Project DeRenne Among Those That Would Receive Funds from Transportation Sales Tax.

My thoughts returned to DeRenne Avenue recently, when news began to emerge about a plan for an elevated expressway on Abercorn Street. The Savannah Morning News’ Eric Curl explains the proposal includes, “An elevated expressway that would stand about 35 feet above Abercorn’s median and separate regional and local drivers.”

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?

Savannah Food Day Festival moves to Daffin Park Oct. 28

Savannah Food Day Logo

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.

On bicycles and employment

City of Savannah Mobility and Parking Director Sean Brandon has a guest post at the Creative Coast blog this morning, which makes important points about poverty, employment, planning and creative communities:

“I have found repeatedly that the person that takes their bicycle on an inhospitable street is trying to do the very thing that many complain those in poverty don’t do: get to and from their job.”

You can read the whole post here.

MLK Food Lion store to be closed less than a year after opening

Count me among those shocked to hear that the brand new Food Lion store on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, which has been open for just over 10 months, is slated for closure. At the store’s groundbreaking on March 30, 2011, a store official told the Savannah Morning News,

“We are dedicated to being Savannah’s neighborhood grocery store.”

Apparently that level of dedication was not shared by Food Lion’s parent company, Delhaize America, which announced today it is closing 126 “underperforming stores.”
The store’s closing is a blow on multiple fronts, not least of which is the loss of jobs.

In July 2010 Savannah Morning News columnist Tom Barton wrote a column called “Crossing a ‘food desert,” in which he suggested:

“In terms of re-energizing this struggling corridor south of the I-16 flyover, this project isn’t just big. It’s humongous…There’s nothing like having a clean, well-stocked, competitively priced and convenient place to buy food and other necessities to make any area more desirable and contribute to healthier lifestyles.”

Here’s hoping a new tenant can be found quickly.

Savannah Tree Foudation offers pair of Tybee events, Jan. 12 and 14

The Savannah Tree Foundation is hosting two events on Tybee Island this week.

A trivia night at Tybee Island Social Club on Thursday, Jan. 12, features tree trivia and food and drink specials beginning at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, Jan. 14 the foundation will plant trees at River’s End Campground, from 10 a.m. until noon, rain or shine. Twenty-five volunteers are needed to help with planting trees and mulching previously planted trees. Volunteers should wear closed toe shoes, long pants and long sleeves. Gloves and tools provided by Savannah Tree Foundation, but bring your own if you have them. Community Service credit and refreshments provided.

For more information, call 912-233-8733 or visit the Savannah Tree Foundation website.