It’s not often that an official communication from the City of Savannah begins by asking readers to predict the outcome of a race. Still, that’s the lede from a June 12 press release:
A bicyclist, a bus rider, and the driver of a car each leave midtown Savannah at the same time headed for City Hall. Who gets there first?
The event, scheduled to coincide with the American Public Transit Association‘s National Dump the Pump day is meant to underscore the transportation options available to Savannahians. The event is sponsored by the City of Savannah, the Savannah Bicycle Campaign, the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority, Coastal Commuters, Chatham Area Transit, and the Pedestrian Advocates of the Coastal Empire. Here’s how it will work:
The contestants will leave the Twelve Oaks Shopping Center on Abercorn Street at roughly 8:30 a.m., when the 14 Abercorn bus arrive at the stop located there. The contestants will follow all traffic laws and speed limits, and the bus will run a regular route, picking up and dropping off passengers as normal. The bus riding contestant must get off at a CAT bus stop, the bicyclist must rack his bike at a bike rack, and the driver must park his car in a parking garage. City leaders will award winner the contestant who first walks across the finish line, which will be located on the west side of City Hall, next to the Hyatt.
At first glance, it would appear that the car has the advantage, due to a higher top speed than the bicycle and the the fact that the driver won’t have to stop for passengers along the way. However, parking will be the great equalizer. And that’s an important point: Folks who dismiss bicycle and transit commuting as too time consuming often overlook minutes lost cruising for a parking space. Unfortunately, the solution they often suggest — more and cheaper parking — comes with a host of negative externalities, not the least of which is encouraging people to be even more automobile dependent and further increasing demand for parking. The good news is many cities are beginning to rethink parking policies.
For Savannah Residents, who have never “caught a CAT,” free fares on June 18 provide another reason to take a bus for a spin. More information is available here.