Savannah's newest streetscape project for downtown begins with Phase 1 this week


Downtown Savannah's long-awaited and much talked about make-over looks like it is finally happening.

A multi-million dollar streetscape project is kicking off this week, with design teams surveying Broughton, Bay, and River streets for the next 60 days. The project will take elements from past proposals mixed with a fresh look at the future.

The word "streetscape" has been talked about for more than a decade, and this project will focus on more than just trees and lights. The city says it is finally happening, and you will see people on Broughton, Bay and River streets surveying the city for the design aspect. 

"It's great! It will be a great asset to the downtown community," said Bridget Lidy, with the City of Savannah. 

City of Savannah Tourism Management Supervisor Bridget Lidy admits there has been a lot of talk and no action when it comes to streetscape improvements over the last 10 years. Ben Carter Enterprises proposed a Broughton Street project a few years ago, but this will be all new, paid for by $14 million in bonds through the city's capital improvements.

Trees, sidewalks, lamps and infrastructure, and a re-envisioning of how residents and tourists walk our main streets will all be a part of the project. Lidy says the design firm, hired out of Florida will be marking out possible changes, coming up with a design, and asking for public input. Pedestrian traffic flow will play a big part in this streetscape makeover.

"Over the years, downtown has grown exponentially, and the pedestrian traffic is what they will be looking at - making that pedestrian experience livelier, more active and really being a part of the downtown area," Lidy said. 

The surveyors from that design firm will be here for 60 days, and the entire project will end on River Street. 

The city's announcement for the Downtown Streetscape Initiative Phase 1: 

Beginning next week, surveyors will be present on Broughton Street, Bay Street, and River Street to begin work for the Downtown Streetscape Initiative. The survey field work is expected to take about 60 days. No traffic lane closures are anticipated, however, minor interruptions may occur. The surveying work is the beginning of the design process. Public meetings on the project will occur in the coming months.

The Downtown Streetscape Initiative builds on previous planning efforts to revitalize downtown Savannah and create an environment that contributes to its livability and the economic vitality of the community. The boundaries of the program run from Liberty Street to the Savannah River and from Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard to E. Broad Street. The first phase of the project focuses on Broughton, River and the northern portions of Montgomery Street and MLK.