Savannah resident Ardis Wood has an interesting letter to the editor in today’s SMN where she implores the Georgia Department of Transportation to actually work with (rather than around) the Sav/Chatham County MPO. I don’t know about all those politics (though I’m sure John could enlighten us), but I was struck by the conclusion of her letter. She writes,
Because roads don’t go through a vacuum. They define a community and create, for better or worse, the place where we experience our city and one another in the public realm.
I had to think about that one for a minute. Part of me automatically asssociates our parks and squares as THE place where we experience our city and one another in the public realm. But then I think of the (majority of) Savannah outside of the historic district/ardsley park/parkside and how I get there and experience the rest of the city. I think about the bike lanes I travel to and from work on, I think about the experience of traffic and looking for parking and about connectivity.
We know when and where there are potholes on our well-traveled routes and that we hate traffic and ill-timed traffic lights and looking for parking. We know that we should all look both ways and use turn signals and wear helmets and seat belts and look out for one another -but we don’t always do such a good job of that.
What does a system of roads that creates community look like? What needs to happen for the place where we experience our city and one another in the public realm become a healthy place? Do we really need to redesign the roads we travel or just travel better?