SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The city of Savannah is moving forward with a plan to help curb pedestrian deaths.
During Thursday night’s city council meeting, members unanimously voted to pass a resolution to implement “Vision Zero,” which has a goal to eliminate traffic deaths by 2027.
At the end of 2021, Savannah Police told News 3 they were concerned about an increase in pedestrian deaths, with up to seven killed in the year.
“These deaths are preventable,” District 4 Alderman Nick Palumbo said.
Before Palumbo was on the city council, he served as the president of a neighborhood association where he said he heard repeated concerns about road safety. That prompted him to back the Vision Zero initiative and bring it before the council.
“The best time to get that started was 20 years ago, but the second-best time is right here, right now, today,” he said.
Palumbo said a mix of federal grant money and local funds will be used for new street markings, signs and improved streetscapes. The city is partnering with non-profit Bike Walk Savannah, whose executive director also oversees the city’s traffic calming committee.
“I hear the same concerns every time,” Caila Brown said. “People are speeding on our streets, we need better traffic calming, I can’t walk my kids to school or to the bus because there isn’t a sidewalk, and I would love to be able to bike but I don’t feel safe doing so.”
Brown said East President Street, East Bay Street, Abercorn Street and Ogeechee Road see the highest level of traffic deaths, with as many as 20 Savannahians losing their lives each year.
Under the resolution, the city pledges to make that number zero by 2027.
“It really puts our city services and springs them into action,” Palumbo said. “So for the next year, we’re going to develop a plan of how we’re going to implement this citywide. We’ve got 700 miles of right of way in the city of Savannah, so we’re gonna have a lot of ground to cover.”
Palumbo said the first course of action is to assemble a resident advisory committee. The alderman said if you have concerns about road safety in your neighborhood to contact your district’s representative.
You can also submit street concerns on the Bike Walk Savannah website.