Focusing on a single goal will not mean success for Project DeRenne


A summary presentation for the recent Project DeRenne charrette is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. at 131 W. DeRenne Ave. The location, a former NAPA auto parts store, is fitting. The nearby intersection of DeRenne Avenue and Montgomery Street is—as one of the charrette facilitators from Kimley-Horne called it—one of the most caustic in Savannah. It certainly is scary to move through on a bicycle. This past Sunday a letter to the editor of the Savannah Morning News ponders some important questions:

Participants in the planning process as well as the affected commercial and residential neighborhoods need to be aware of measures of success of the proposed plan. Unless plans are tied to outcomes, there is no way to judge either the viability or the effectiveness of any particular part of Project DeRenne or the project as a whole.

I’m confident that city staff and citizens, who’ve been involved with Project DeRenne, understand that a  host of metrics must be used for selecting a design and that those same criteria can be used to evaluating its success.

However, I fear that many may be looking for only one result and that is increasing the street’s capacity to move more cars  at higher speeds. Viewing DeRenne Avenue through the windshield neglects the potential for the corridor and worse, ignores the negative effect the current situation is having on surrounding neighborhoods and the city as a whole. A solution aimed solely at shaving a couple seconds off a commuter’s return trip to Effingham County will surely be even more damaging.

What should the Project DeRenne plan accomplish? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

One thought on “Focusing on a single goal will not mean success for Project DeRenne

  1. prodgers

    You make a good point. It’s funny how the “Project” means something different for everyone involved. (Not funny ‘haha’, funny peculiar). Ask a commuter, someone who lives in that neighborhood, an out of town expert, or a local public official, and all will state a different objective. Traffic calming vs. traffic volume increasing; neighborhood quality of life vs. higher allowable speed.

    When Dan Burden was in town, wasn’t his angle that with a greenspace median, fewer traffic lights, and lower overall speed, there could be a compromise between higher traffic volume and neighborhood quality? Although the city brought him here, I wonder whether his message will carry over beyond his visit. His sensibility is probably counter-intuitive to the common wisdom of the average commuting hospital staffer, but it does seem like the only win-win on the table at the moment.

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