Savannah working to improve traffic flow, safety downtown

Improving traffic flow, safety downtown

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Work on improving traffic flow and safety along several major corridors in the downtown Savannah area continues.

During Thursday’s City Council workshop, elected leaders learned about the progress made, and what’s on the horizon with the ongoing effort.

Not too long ago, pedestrian crossings were enhanced along Whitaker and Drayton streets, with the push-button signals that light up flashing lights to get drivers’ attention. Those rapid flashing pedestrian beacons are now at eight intersections next to Forsyth Park in an effort to improve pedestrian safety.

Measures like that - lowering speed limits and putting in speed indicators - are all things that help take drivers out of that auto-pilot mode, when they’re not paying as much attention as they should be.

Council got to see some hard data with regard to average speed along Drayton and Whitaker, comparing 2014 to 2019.

The average speed along Drayton Street and Whitaker Streets has dropped about five miles-per-hour.

The city is buying four RADAR signs to place at various points along Whitaker and Drayton, looking to lower speed limits, widen sidewalks, and put in raised pavement markers around Forsyth Park before marked crosswalks to keep drivers from lane changing or weaving at the actual crosswalk.

Alderman Bill Durrence is keeping a close eye on efforts to make these streets and other thoroughfares in his district safer, and says while the items presented Thursday are steps in the right direction, even more can be done.

“I’m fine with incremental changes as long as there’s no end to those incremental changes until we get the solution we need. I don’t have to have my final solution worked out, to be the solution we choose, or my perfect solution be the one that we choose, but I need to see the results," the 2nd District Alderman said.

Between Bay and State streets, the sidewalks will be widened and will include decorative pavers and street lights, stamped concrete crosswalks, pedestrian bollards, and narrower traffic lanes.

Construction is expected to go to bid in the coming weeks.

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