Savannah moves ahead with Price Street redesign: one car lane, one bicycle lane, on-street parking

[Update: A friend has told me that the workers lining Price St. said that the changes aren’t official until new signage is up. But now we have drivers who don’t know how to read the road markings. With no cars parked in the new spaces, some drivers are trying to use that as a travel lane. The city needs to get some signs or security up asap.]

I haven’t been over there yet, but friends are reporting that new lines were being painted on Price Street today.

Here’s a graphic rendering of the Price Street the very near future:

And here are a few key points regarding the change:

  • Right now there is a northbound bike lane on Lincoln, but there is no southbound bike lane.
  • Price Street’s traffic counts do not justify two lanes of one-way traffic. That is especially true from Bay Street to about Liberty Street.
  • The speedway effect created by the wide street and the absence of on-street parking (which would provide a sort of “visual friction”) leads to very high speeds on Price.
  • As a consequence of those high speeds, we routinely see auto accidents with serious injuries, major damage to cars, and disturbingly common crashes into houses.
  • The high speeds and the lack of a protective buffer of parking make Price Street one of the worst streets for pedestrians in the city.
  • Property values and land use have obviously been depressed by the current traffic flow.
  • When the change is first made, there might be some issues with getting lights retimed (one lane means fewer cars able to get through a single green light), but those can be worked out. Plus, some drivers will choose alternate routes once they realize that they are going to have to travel at legal speeds. Again, this would best be done in conjunction with making East Broad Street two-way for its entire length, but city officials who would like to do that backed off after irrational objections a number of years ago.
  • The additional on-street parking spaces will be GREAT news for residents along Price, for residents on side streets who are tired of Price Street residents and visitors parking in front of their houses, and for businesses like those in the plaza at the corner of Oglethorpe and Price.

I know of two dramatic crashes on Price in just the last couple of weeks — one at Jones and one at Duffy. We’ll still see accidents on Price just like we do on all streets, but we should see far fewer with serious damage, serious injuries, and damage to neighboring buildings.

More soon.

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