On Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. the “preferred concept,” produced by the recent Project DeRenne charettes, will be unveiled in a former auto parts store at 131 W. DeRenne Ave. I’m interested to see what the folks from Kimley-Horne, working with city officials and citizens of all walks of life, have created. In a recent column in the Savannah Morning News, Project DeRenne coordinator Susan Broker explained how fortunate we are that previous ideas for the corridor never became realities:
“Imagine if we had built the first concept proposed to solve DeRenne’s traffic problems. The mid-city gateway into Savannah would now be an elevated expressway, greatly devaluing some of Savannah’s best neighborhoods and closing dozens of existing businesses. The second round of concepts was no better: Expanding lanes of pavement would have consumed the very neighborhoods they were intended to support. Neither of these concepts was deemed acceptable to the communities surrounding DeRenne Avenue.”
The common element between both the plans Broker mentions is that they focus on only one thing: Moving more cars at faster speeds. Cities around the country are currently spending mountains of money to undo the damage done to their communities by similar projects.
Project DeRenne presents an opportunity for our community to look toward the future, instead of repeating others’ past mistakes. It offers an opportunity to ensure that Savannah neighborhoods remain livable for years to come, instead of aiming solely to shave a couple minutes off the commutes of folks who don’t even live here. It provides an opportunity to understand that Project DeRenne has implications beyond traffic, including public health.
For more information, visit the Project DeRenne Web site.