DeRenne Ideas Discussed at Public Meeting

DeRenne Avenue is one of the most heavily traveled roads in Savannah, a main way across town, but bumper to bumper at peak traffic times. Residents have come up with more than 80 different ideas to ease the problem, but the one that's generating a lot of heat would actually mean demolishing more than 50 homes.

If you drive DeRenne Avenue during rush hour, you're not going anywhere fast. The Metropolitan Planning Commission says 50,000 to 60,000 cars use DeRenne every day.

"Something needs to happen with the traffic, definitely," said resident Raymond Lanier.

The problem is hitting close to home for some residents, many of whom live close to the problem. Residents and city leaders are looking for solutions.

But some ideas are causing controversy. Like widening DeRenne from Abercorn Street to the Truman Parkway. It would mean knocking down 55 homes.

Brenda Rosenberg just learned her home would be one of them. "I actually saw it in the newspaper this morning," she said. "Opened the newspaper and would have like to have fallen on the floor."

Brenda attended a meeting last night at Coastal Georgia Center to learn more about the idea. and the alternatives.

Connecting Savannah's project manager Linda Carpenter stresses the group has not made any definite plans to widen DeRenne Avenue. "This is only one proposal of a package of ones, a long list of ones that address the DeRenne Avenue corridor congestion," she said.

Other ideas range from tunneling under DeRenne to widening Hampstead Road as an alternate route from 516 to Abercorn Street to synchronizing the traffic lights. No matter what alternatives are chosen, change is inevitable.

And someone's going to feel the impact.

Southside resident Malik Watkins said, "The city's going through growing pains. When you look at some of the lessons learned in other cities, either way, someone's going to hurt."

But residents hope talking it out will help them find the best road to a solution.

Connecting Savannah will hold its next meeting on Tuesday, March 22 at 5:30pm in the Coastal Georgia Center. They plan to go over the feedback they received last night to narrow down the best ideas to help traffic on DeRenne.

Reported by: Liz Flynn,