(SAVANNAH, GA) Savannah City Council unanimously passed a Complete Streets Ordinance at the Thursday, January 22 council meeting. The Complete Streets ordinance is intended to provide a safe, convenient or comfortable travel experience for all users, including people who walk, ride bicycles, use transit and drive cars.
Implementation of the ordinance will make Complete Streets practices a regular part of its day-to-day operations, including applying pertinent principles to appropriate transportation projects and programs.
“We look forward to working with City staff in using this ordinance to make Savannah’s streets safe, attractive and convenient for people of all ages and abilities,” said John Bennett, executive director of the Savannah Bicycle Campaign. “Implementation of the ordinance will make our city a better place to live, work and play.”
One of Healthy Savannah’s objectives is to create better conditions in Savannah for walking and biking to school. In association with the Savannah Bicycle Campaign, the organization’s top three goals include the passing of the Complete Streets ordinance and completion of the Truman Linear Park Trail. The third objective, which encourages walking and biking to school, focuses on public education and improvements to bike paths and sidewalks leading to and surrounding neighborhood schools.
The Director of Healthy Living with Healthy Savannah and the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, Paula Kreissler said, “If our streets are complete, kids will be safe and healthy walking and bicycling to school. With fewer people using cars for short-distance trips, there will be less traffic, less air pollution, and more community health benefits of increased physical activity.”
As part of the grant Healthy Savannah has collected over 800 surveys from community members. Ninety-five percent of respondents believe that childhood obesity is an issue in the community and ninety-four percent think that a complete streets ordinance is important or extremely important for our community. The majority of survey participants believe that having walking and bike lanes accessible for children traveling to school is “extremely important”.
Joel Smoker, Chief Operating Officer of the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, said, “I believe streets should be safe for all users at all times. For shorter distances, choosing to walk, bicycle, or use transit should be as easy and convenient as choosing to drive.”
The Healthy Savannah Initiative has been awarded $250,000 in grant funding, as a part of a three year program from the Healthcare Georgia Foundation to fight childhood obesity. The YMCA of Coastal Georgia serves as the fiscal agent for the grant.
MORE INFORMATION ON HEALTHCARE GEORGIA FOUNDATION: Healthcare Georgia Foundation’s mission is to advance the health of all Georgians and to expand access to affordable, quality healthcare for under-served individuals and communities. The Foundation was created in 1999 through the conversion of public assets resulting from the merger between Bluecross Blueshield of Georgia and WellPoint Health Networks.
MORE INFORMATION ON HEALTHY SAVANNAH: The Healthy Savannah Inc. Initiative is dedicated to making Savannah a healthier place to live. Launched in 2007 by (former) Mayor Otis Johnson, Healthy Savannah’s mission is to achieve a healthier community by creating and advocating for a variety of policies and programs to increase opportunities for citizens to engage in physical activity and consume a nutritious, balanced diet. Healthy Savannah supports programs for families, schools, businesses, and faith-based organizations. The leadership team is composed of people from all sectors of the community. Business owners, non-profit managers, government and public service staff, community organizers, and faith-based leaders all play a role in helping the vision of a healthy Savannah come to life.
MORE INFORMATION ON SAVANNAH BICYCLE CAMPAIGN: Founded in 2008, Savannah Bicycle Campaign is a nonprofit membership based organization working to build a better Savannah through bicycling. SBC works through advocacy with local government, education of drivers and cyclists, and encouragement to advance bicycling as a healthy means of transportation and recreation.
For more information, contact:
Director of Healthy Living and Community Development,
Healthy Savannah and YMCA of Coastal Georgia
Savannah Bicycle Campaign