Savannah: No Parking on Bay Street trial - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Savannah: No Parking on Bay Street trial

(Source: Savannah City Council) (Source: Savannah City Council)

Keeping accidents at bay on Bay Street in Savannah will mean big changes, come September. 

No parking on either side of the street will soon be allowed between Martin Luther King, Jr Boulevard and East Broad Street.

"I just think it would be a huge mistake," said Brett Kuck, The Butcher Tattoo Studio.

Bay Street business owners are reacting to Savannah City Council's decision to completely eliminate street parking on both sides of Bay Street as a trial for the month of September.

"We tell people there's parking out front of our business. Outside of that, the closest parking would be a couple of blocks away," said Kuck. 

Kuck feels it would drive customers away.                                                                     

"It'd be really inconvenient for us, and I think it would kind of damage our business," he said.

Others feel it will only contribute to our current parking problems.

"Parking is quite difficult in downtown Savannah anyway, and it just adds to more spots being available and all of the businesses that are on Bay Street. It just makes it easier, more accessible," said Kevin Richmond, Tondee's Tavern.

The plan doesn't just get rid of parking, it also widens the lanes from 9.5-10 feet to 11-12 feet and creates a landscaped median nine-feet wide. During the trial period, city officials will place construction barrels marking where the median would go. They will place temporary traffic tape showing the new lanes, and they will place French barricades simulating sidewalk bollards, and they will add “no-parking” signs. 

Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach says it's all an effort to better control traffic and pedestrians.

"Both of those lead to a better opportunity to keep people from getting hurt and keep accidents down," he said.

This will just be a 30-day trial, but could become permanent depending on the findings.

"The tourists, the citizens, and all will get a better flow of traffic. One that's not zig and zagging down through Bay Street," said Mayor DeLoach.

Not all businesses feel it will be a bad thing.

"I think tourists walk enough around here anyway that it shouldn't be too tough," said Austin Baechle, Savannah Clothing Company. "It makes sense if there have been issues, like car crashes and things. It's a safety measure."

To help alleviate parking problems, the city will expand its shuttle service to Bay Street. Instead of leaving every 25 minutes, it will leave every 10 minutes, and instead of shuttling for six hours a day, it will shuttle for 14 hours a day.

If you regularly park on Bay Street, they suggest you park at the East Broughton Street lot (32 spaces available), the Liberty Street garage (50 spaces available), or the Civic Center lot (140 spaces available).

This trial won't come cheap for the city. 

Here’s a look at the extra cost for the month of September, which totals $46,083.

Expanding shuttle services: $32,083

Renting temporary barrels: $9,500

Adding temporary restriping: $3,000

Adding “no-parking” signs: $1,500

Of course, the figures are different when you make these changes permanent. We do not have that total just yet. However, we do know expanding shuttle services for one year will cost an extra $385,000.

Current annual shuttle services: $300,000

Proposed annual shuttle services: $685,000

Mayor DeLoach says he wants to hear opinions from Bay Street business owners during the trial period, so they can make an informed, permanent decision.

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