In my City Talk column today in the Savannah Morning News, I write about the depressing news that the large vacant lot at the corner of Drayton and Charlton appears destined to be a surface parking lot for the nearby Andrew Low House.
I say in part:
Surface parking lots are among the worst uses of urban space.
They tend to rend the residential and retail fabric. They repel pedestrians. They generally generate far less economic activity than more intense uses. They create heat islands. They contribute to problems with drainage and polluted stormwater runoff.
When they’re owned by governments or nonprofit organizations, surface lots take significant chunks of land off the tax rolls.
And they’re ugly.
I had hoped that surface parking lots would slowly be whittled out of the Historic District, but depressed land values have apparently raised the odds that organizations with the most cash and with no fear of property taxes — governments, churches, and other nonprofits — might degrade the urban fabric with more surface lots.
A few pics and comments:
In my dream world, the churches and other organizations that own these lots — which are essentially blight — would step up to the plate and make them look better. And, down the road, they would recognize that these lots and all those like them are detriments to the urban fabric.