Hometown Hero: Healthy Savannah Pedestrians

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 5:54 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The goal is to not just make walking as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. But to make it easy everywhere.

“When we have community members who depend on walking and biking to get to their every-day life activities like going to church, going to the store, going to school, then we want those people to have the infrastructure in their communities to do so safely,” Armand Turner said.

Healthy Savannah has been identifying challenges for pedestrians in Savannah’s low income neighborhoods since securing a REACH four years ago.

“Reach Grant stands for Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health we want to look at roadways, tree canopies, intersections, everything that would make it easier or harder for someone to get to the places they need to go. We want to take a closer look at them and work with the community to find out what are they seeing so we can make the proper recommendations to fix those issues.

The City does the work to fix the issues. But healthy Savannah does the legwork to identify them - already helping to get walkways improved in Edgemere Sackville and now focusing on the Carver Heights area.

“Savannah has about 73% of our streets don’t have sidewalks on both sides. That’s most prevalent in our low-wealth, African American communities ... we know the health benefits to walking and biking and we want that to be available to everyone, no matter their community, race or color.

With one year remaining on the $3.4 million REACH grant, the WTOC Hometown Heroes at Healthy Savannah will also continue to support the City’s Tide to Town project of walking and riding trails through 75 percent of Savannah’s neighborhoods, which includes the Truman Linear Trail.

“We know something like that has the potential to connect neighborhoods, to connect people to the places they need to go. And so, seeing more and more shovels in the ground, building that in collaboration with communities, is something we’re very proud of and we hope to see more of, we hope that once this grant is over, we’ve made a significant dent in that effort to improve walkability and bikability here in Savannah, and we hope to really energize our communities to advocate for themselves to see the changes that they need.

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