Streetsblog DC reports routinely on sustainability, livability, transportation alternatives to the automobile, and land use policy.
The site recently launched a contest to find “America’s worst intersection”.
Well the votes are in, and the winning (or losing) intersection is in Omaha, a St. Louis intersection is second, and third place goes to the intersection of White Bluff Road and Abercorn Street right here in Savannah.
Now, this is a deeply unscientific poll, with just a couple of handfuls of nominations and not all that many votes.
I drive through the intersection of Abercorn and White Bluff all the time, and it’s not the city’s worst by any stretch — as long as you’re in a car. I pretty much never see cyclists or pedestrians at that intersection, and for good reason.
With traffic never stopping when turning right from White Bluff onto southbound Abercorn, there’s essentially no way for a pedestrian to cross on the left side of this intersection. And there’s no safe way to bicycle south on Abercorn; even if a cyclist safely got through the intersection, merging cars from White Bluff never stop.
And the other routes would be almost as dangerous to anyone not in a car.
Just last night, I posted about the changing lifestyle choices of young adults who are much less likely to move to car-dependent suburbs than their parents’ generation was. Savannah’s Southside was designed with cars in mind, not with pedestrians or bicycle commuters. I’ve written often through the years about the need to come up with a game plan to adapt the Southside’s built environment to one that is more pedestrian and bicycle friendly — and therefore more conducive to building community and meeting the needs of 21st century Americans.
This process of retrofitting the Southside for a new era should begin by addressing the obvious problems created by restrictive intersections like White Bluff and Abercorn.
This is a confusing tangle, sidewalk-challenged and devoid of crosswalks. It bears a striking resemblance to our first-place winner. In a comment on this entry, Transportation for America’s Stephen Lee Davis wrote: “I voted for Savannah simply because of the crazy confusion of the curved lanes and the fact that I’m not sure how you would even go about illegally crossing the road on the east/right side of that picture [actually the west/left side in the pic embedded below]. Terrifying.”