Category Archives: Neighborhoods

CORE MPO seeks citizen input on Total Mobility Plan

The Coastal Region Metropolitan Planning Organization is hosting a series of meetings to solicit citizen input on the Total Mobility Plan:

“The Total Mobility Plan is an in-depth planning effort which will emphasize sustainability, Complete Streets, Context Sensitive Design, non-motorized transportation and transit. The Plan will address the transportation network and specific facilities, but also the interaction between transportation and the community as a whole.  The thoroughfare planning component will address facilities for auto traffic, bicycles, pedestrians, and public transit vehicles, including intersections.  Workshop attendees will map context areas, creating a vision of the desired character in each community. The thoroughfare standards will then be shaped to achieve that vision.”

It’s encouraging to hear the phrase Complete Streets used in this context, as many of the area’s most important streets are woefully incomplete when it comes to safely accommodating pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders. The meetings will be held at the following times and locations from 5-6:30 p.m., and will use a “Drop in when you can!” format.

Tuesday, Jan. 10
Islands High School Career Counseling Center, 170 Whitemarsh Island Road

Tuesday, Jan. 17
Armstrong Atlantic State University – Armstrong Center, 13040 Abercorn St.

Thursday, Jan. 19
First Presbyterian Church, 520 Washington Ave.

For more information, contact Mark Wilkes at (912) 651-1451 or wilkesm [at] thempc.org

Don’t trash that Christmas tree, recycle it this Saturday

On my evening walk today I passed a Christmas tree set out on the sidewalk for collection by sanitation workers. Not only did it impede pedestrian traffic, there are much better things to do with trees after the holiday season has concluded. The City of Savannah is holding its annual Bring One for the Chipper event Jan. 7, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the following locations:

· Home Depot, 11180 Abercorn St.
· Home Depot, 190 Pooler Parkway
· Home Depot, 1901 Victory Drive
· Dean Forest Landfill, 1325 Dean Forest Road
· Bacon Park Landfill, Shorty Cooper Road
· Wilmington Island Landfill, 7022 Concord Road

Christmas trees dropped off at this locations will be converted to mulch and used in neighborhood beautification projects. More information is available on the City of Savannah website.

Savannah Bicycle Campaign seeks matched donations to fund ambitious new project

The Savanna Bicycle Campaign has been active since its founding in 2008, working with government officials to improve bicycle infrastructure, offering bicycle safety courses, and sponsoring events that encourage people to make bicycling part of their daily lives. Now the group is seeking to establish a physical space from which to operate programs that will benefit Savannahians in need. The group aims to:

“Put in place an SBC Bike Restoration and Education Center, to serve as a center of cycling activities in Savannah-Chatham, to provide a physical presence for SBC and to allow for collection and rehabilitation of discarded bicycles to be put into safe operating condition and distributed to members of the community who have limited means for transportation and often resort to dangerously ill-fitted, poorly maintained bicycles. Distribution of these bikes  will be a means to improve mobility for this at risk community and to allow us to deliver basic bike safety education and equipment.”

Tax deductible donations will be matched at 100 percent for the first $4,000 raised. For more information, visit the Savannah Bicycle Campaign website.

Nov. 14 mayoral candidate forum will focus on transportation and sustainability

Savannah mayoral candidates Edna Jackson and Jeff Felser will field questions about their positions on transportation and sustainability issues Monday, Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m. Hosted by the Savannah Bicycle Campaign, US Green Building Council-Savannah Branch and League of Women Voters, the forum will be held at the Coastal Georgia Center, 305 Fahm St.  The forum will start at 6:30 p.m., following a brief reception, and will be moderated by Jim Morekis, editor-in-chief of Connect Savannah.

“As we choose our next mayor, it’s more important than ever to ensure that Savannah grows into the future and grows wisely,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, Chair of the US Green Building Council-Savannah Branch. “Through this forum, candidates can express their vision for how Savannah can be a leader by demonstrating responsible stewardship of our environment while incorporating innovative strategies as part of that solution.”

“We’ve seen a tremendous increase in the use of bicycles for transportation in the community. The City of Savannah government has been a positive influence in that growth, and we hope this forum allows candidates the chance to address how they will help continue this trend and also make transit and pedestrian options more viable,” said Drew Wade, Chairman of the Savannah Bicycle Campaign. “Several long-term transportation planning efforts are reaching the point where those decisions become a critical part of the community we live with for the next several decades; we need to make the right decisions.”

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Frank McIntosh at 912-272-1074 or frank@bicyclecampaign.org.

Newspaper readers fret over street closures for marathon, ignore countless daily closures due to car crashes

Folks who leave comments on the Savannah Morning News website can be relied upon to make all sorts of hyperbolic claims about all sorts of topics. An Oct. 31 story about street closures related to the first running of the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon provided some the opportunity complain about  car-free streets. One even suggested an alternate theory for the recently discussed issue of why people move out of Savannah. It’s not fear of crime or worries about taxes or the search for better schools or the quest for peace and quiet that drives people away from Savannah. No, the tipping point is when roads will be closed for part of one day so people can run a marathon:

“Maybe it is time to move out of this city. Parts of my family has lived in and around Savannah for almost 300 years and I don’t want that to end, but, really maybe it is time.”

Another commenter advanced the popular but misguided notion that using city streets for anything other than the movement of private automobiles cheats the rightful owners of these thoroughfares:

“I pay taxes to use the roads and not to have a sporting event that I don’t see a dime from held in them.”

While the marathon street closures will surely disrupt traffic patterns, the truth of the matter is that streets are closed to traffic in the Savannah area every single day, multiple times per day. Here is just a sample of the scores of Savannah Morning News stories from October that include mention of roads closed by car crashes:

Traffic Alert: Wreck causes I-516 delay
TRAFFIC ALERT: Accidents that could delay your morning commute
Ga. 17 at Roebling Road opens after wreck
UPDATE: Victory Drive reopened after accident
An accident at the intersection of East Derenne Avenue and Abercorn Street is delaying traffic

All of these are individual events and even if dozens of local roads are closed in a single day, it is not the same thing as coordinated road closures to accommodate a major event. I get that. Still, in aggregate these crashes cause many, many more hours of traffic delay and are much more expensive. And, it must be noted, cost many lives.

Yet none of these stories about automobile crashes merited a single comment. Not one commenter lashed out at motorists for causing these accidents, called the drivers involved “morons” or  “idiots,” or accused them of being ignorant of traffic regulations. Not one commenter shared stories of their own encounters with motorists who think they “own the road” or “always have the right of way.”

Oh, but wait, there was one “road closed due to traffic crash” deemed worthy of such comments. It was, of course, a story about a collision between two bicyclists.