Feedback sought on Bay Street pilot program

(SAVANNAH) The Hostess City wants to know what you think of the changes that have been made to one of the busiest streets in downtown Savannah. 48 hours into the Bay Street Pilot Program, an effort affecting motorists and pedestrians on Bay Street, city leaders want to remind the public of their crucial role in the temporary plan to improve safety and traffic flow, both pedestrian and vehicular.

The temporary changes along Bay Street have been set up between Martin Luther King Boulevard and East Broad Street. Some of the changes include the elimination of on-street parking, barriers have been installed to discourage jaywalking, and barrels are in-place to represent a median separating east and westbound traffic. The reality of the changes is changing some minds, like Bonnie Walden, the owner of Bay Street Blues, ” Yesterday, I was very negative and apprehensive about it. today, I love it. My view to the outside is so much better. I don’t have a line of parked cars, so if my visibility to the outside is better, I’m sure the people coming by, my visibility will be better for them too. I think it’s going to help all the businesses on Bay Street,” Walden said.

The city seeks feedback from beyond the business community, Saja Aures, a spokeswoman for the city, says they want anyone using Bay Street in any form, to share their thoughts on the program. Aures says the city has an online option so people can share at their own convenience. “We’re definitely looking for feedback from folks. It’s very important to the process, um, we have several metrics we’re going to be keeping track of during the pilot program, with things like average speed, volume of cars, um, but we also want anecdotal information, how is it like driving in this new sort of environment, um, do people like it or not, so your feedback is absolutely crucial to the process.” Aures said.

She says they hope for opinions from both perspectives of travel along the busy street, those behind the wheel and those who are on foot. ” We want people to feel safe on the sidewalks,, um, so folks that are downtown visiting or working that are out of the street, let us know what you think`, we’d really appreciate that feedback.”

She adds that the input is crucial to post-program decision-making about whether or not to make the temporary changes a permanent part of the street scape on Bay. John Nixon says he’s worked in Savannah 9 years and applauds the idea city leaders want feedback from the public. “Oh, I’ll definitely give my input, i mean, I think if you can give your input before they make decisions, it solve, a lot of back comments at the end, ya’ know, it’s a smart move.” Nixon said. The temporary changes are set to wrap up October 9, 2016.

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