Category Archives: Public Space

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.

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

Take a walk in the woods, combat alien invaders on Saturday, Dec. 10

Twenty-five volunteers are needed this Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon to help with invasive species removal and trail maintenance and cleaning work on the natural walking trails in Bacon Park Forest. Volunteers will learn about the environmental and economic benefits of urban forests and native and non-native species. Here are the details of this important mission:

Volunteers should be sure to wear long sleeved shirts, long pants and closed-toe shoes with socks to help protect from sun, bugs and plants, and may bring work gloves, bypass pruners and pruning shears if they have them. Refreshments, community service hours, gloves and tools will be provided. Please park at the east end of the shopping center parking lot at 2150 Bonna Bella Ave. For more information call 912-233-8733 or visit the Savannah Tree Foundation website.

Forsyth Farmers’ Market announces one-time date and time change, extends season

Late sleepers rejoice! The Forsyth Farmers Market is adjusting its hours this weekend due to the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. Normally held Saturdays, the event will shift to Sunday from 2-6 p.m. Those for whom the market has become a Saturday morning tradition need not worry. The market returns to its normal Saturday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. timeslot next week.

And there’s more news out of the market: The season is being extended to Dec. 17 and will reopen earlier in 2012:

“We are proud to officially announce that we will continue to provide fresh produce, high quality meats and delicious prepared food until December 17th. We will then take a short winter break before starting the 2012 season on February 11th, 2 months earlier than we typically do. This represents a 30% increase in your market experience and a great way to indulge in the southern luxury of a year- long growing season.”

More information is available on the market website.

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.