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.