CORE MPO selects three programs to receive federal funding

CORE MPO selects three programs to receive federal funding

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Coastal Region Metropolitan Planning Organization has chosen three local alternative transportation projects that will receive a portion of the $814, 396 in federal funding it has received.

The three projects chosen were the CAT Bike Program, the Coastal Georgia Greenway and the Marsh Hen Trail.

The CAT Bike Program will receive $175, 048 to expand the program. CAT plans to add five new bike stations throughout the downtown area. The program currently has two stations: one at the CAT Transit Center and one at Ellis Square.

They are still deciding where they will put all five new stations but they will be within the boundaries of Park Street & River Street and MLK & East Broad.

CAT officials say since they launched in January, the bike program has been a success but the biggest complaint was not having enough places to drop off the bikes.

"We had to come here to Ellis Square twice because we just wanted to do an hour at a time. Obviously it would have been more helpful if there were docking stations across the city," said Jennifer Ballance from London.

"Definitely the more you have in more parks couldn't hurt," said James Jackson of Savannah.

They expect to have the new stations up and running next year.

Chatham County will receive $510,186 to extend the Coastal Georgia Greenway at the Canebrake Path and Sidewalk.

Tybee Island will receive $129, 162 to extend their Marsh Hen Trail to Battery Park.

One of the projects that didn't make the cut was a proposal to make pedestrian traffic safer on Whitaker Street.

Pedestrian safety has been one of Operation Thunder's missions in Chatham County. Since 2012, there have been 65 fatal crashed involving pedestrians in Chatham County.

The City of Savannah requested federal funding to make improvements along Whitaker Street to reconstruct the sidewalk and enhance pedestrian safety, but the CORE MPO chose to award money for two trails and for CAT to expand their bike program.

"Well, it was pretty expensive for the distance that we are getting, and there is a sidewalk over there, so it's useful right now to pedestrians in general, although it does need some improvements," said transportation planner Jane Love.

Copyright 2014 WTOC. All rights reserved.