Project DeRenne concept provides a vision of corridor’s future

derene presentation

From coverage of last night’s Project DeRenne concept unveiling last night provided by WSAV, WTOC and the Savannah Morning News, you might get the idea that the mood  in room was particularly contentious. I didn’t get that impression. And I was sitting a couple chairs away from a local business owner, who rose during the question and answer session and demanded to know why she felt everything had already been decided. She asked why she was distrustful.

Tough questions. Explaining to a person why they feel a certain way is difficult. Naturally, reporters were lining up to talk with her afterward. Other questions centered on how the project would be funded and if “government money” would be necessary to realize some of the impressive developments depicted in drawings. Another good question.

This kind of skepticism is understandable. When you are looking at one of the most dysfunctional streets in the city, which is edged by some very shabby commercial properties, it’s difficult to imagine a safe, attractive street that’s framed by architecturally distinctive buildings and even parks and monuments. When you have an area that most people want to escape as soon as possible, it takes some imagination to think of it as a destination. Yet getting past what it is to what it could be  is the type of mental exercise that will be necessary to transform DeRenne Avenue from a community liability to a civic amenity. Savannah deserves more great places. DeRenne could be one.

Materials presented at last night’s meeting will become available on the Project DeRenne Web site in the coming days.

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About John Bennett

Transportation, land use, local farming and green building are all potential topics for Sustainable Savannah. The goal is to aggregate content about local events and projects, so there will be a central place to review everything that’s happening. The site is aimed at encouraging collaboration and information sharing between groups and individuals currently engaged in sustainability efforts. The site can also provide a snapshot of Savannah for green-minded people who are considering visiting or moving to the area.

2 thoughts on “Project DeRenne concept provides a vision of corridor’s future

  1. FJP912

    Nowhere that I can find in the description of this proposal, or just about anywhere on the Project Derenne site that I can find, is any indication that the issue of modifying Derenne is being considered in tandem with the problem of trucks on Bay Street.

    For better or worse, Derenne is one of the east-west corridors that has to be considered as an alternative truck route to Bay Street. At a minimum, it would be shortsighted to embark on a Derenne project that would have the effect of reducing its ability to handle increased truck traffic (and adding more trees, which can be low hanging, and cutting back center turn lanes can both do that) without affirmatively thinking about how doing that might impede our ability to solve the Bay Street problem.

    No one wants to pit one neighborhood against another, but as a community we need to decide overall what our priorities are. And it could be a reasoned decision that in order to reclaim a key element of the Historic District from endless roar, banging and congestion of dump trucks and semis, we may need to let a street that already is a commercial artery remain so, instead of trying to prettify it into another Liberty Street which it just isn’t going to be no matter how much we try.

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