Coastal Sense


Make it count, early and often. by drewwade
October 22, 2008, 10:13 pm
Filed under: County Politics, Local Politics

SprawlThis post was written by Drew Wade.

Early voting is open, so don’t be stuck waiting in lines on November 4. Make sure you get out there and make your voice heard.

Also, be sure to vote NO on Amendment 3 — say no to developer based taxing and no to further opening the gates to sprawl.

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TLOST in the Senate by drewwade
February 20, 2008, 4:56 pm
Filed under: City Politics, County Politics, Local Politics, State Legislature, transportation

This post was written by Drew Wade.

So, the penny transportation local option sales tax (TLOST) has passed the State Senate overwhelmingly, still moving through the House. What I like about it is the optional part.  It certainly does not presume the needs of a particular region, and funds generated there (disproportionately from tourists here in the coast) go to transportation projects we decide on.

I am pleased to see that the group which has been the primary impetus behind TLOST, Get Georgia Moving, has alternative modes (transit and the Beltline in Atlanta) as a part of its recommendations. Now we need to demand inclusion of a provision on Complete Streets.



We need justice by drewwade
January 11, 2008, 5:45 pm
Filed under: City Politics, County Politics, Crime, Energy, Life, Local Politics, transportation

This post by Drew Wade

Horrible.

The only way to describe what happened yesterday to a cyclist. A hit and run driver running a stop sign hit a cyclist at Wayne and Lincoln. According to the Savannah Morning News, the cyclist is in serious condition at Memorial. As noted in Sustainable Savannah,

Police are asking for help finding the driver, a white female in her 20s, who sped away in a white passenger car after hitting the cyclist. Anyone for more information should call 652-6650 or call CrimeStoppers at 234-2020.

It was not mentioned in the article, but of course the cyclist was doing everything right: riding north (the direction of traffic — it’s one way) in the bike lane on Lincoln in the middle of the day. Of course, a cyclist has every right to be on the roadway even without a bike lane. Though we expect drivers would be looking for cyclists when there is a bike lane in place, a painted stripe is false reassurance for a cyclist.

What should we do, then?

  1. Demand enforcement. Bring this person to justice. If you’re on your bike and an car runs you off the road, hold them accountable — get their tag, call the police, and demand action. Fortunately, it seems the police are responding appropriately to this incident.
  2. Advocate for better facilities. The Lincoln bike lane is all we have in that part of town, and it is often littered with debris or parked cars. Other bike lanes like the one on Habersham start and stop. Signage is inconsistent. No change will be made unless we make noise about it repeatedly.
  3. Keep riding. The more people are out on bikes, the safer they are. It is counterintuitive, I suppose, but we know this from German and Dutch data when compared to our own American experience as in this linked article. The German and Dutch cycling infrastructure is of course much more developed than ours, leading us back to #2.

The bottom line: we need justice. Not only justice for this crime, but just and equitable transportation and enforcement policies. Let’s start by getting one dangerous motorist off the road.



Gun lobby hits the state house by drewwade
January 7, 2008, 5:54 pm
Filed under: Guns, Local Politics

The NRA has descended for a second assault on our capitol to force a bill requiring private property owners to allow guns in cars parked on their property.

Mark Barton, who killed 9 at his office in AtlantaHave they forgotten the horrible scene of 1999 that made international news? The gun activists will of course say: Well, that’s an isolated incident, obviously a very sick individual. Not so, however if you read the interviews of Mark Barton’s family and friends. Why would we invite guns into our workplaces? Easy access makes what could be a diffusible problem into something extremely volatile and potentially disastrous.

Sensibly, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce is against the measure which flies in the face of private property rights. Surely we don’t think the 2nd amendment trumps all the others.



Who pays for the roads? by drewwade
November 29, 2007, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Local Politics, National Politics, transportation | Tags: , ,

As someone who rides around the roads on his bicycle (a practice sanctioned by our legal system), I am sometimes faced with irritable attitudes from drivers who believe that their tonnage entitles them to ALL of the road, including my little 2 feet by the shoulder. The argument goes, “Well, I pay for my tag and I pay tax on gas to support the roads. You on your bike do nothing to pay for the road, and so you have no right to it.” The law states otherwise, though law enforcement in my experience tends to support the previous argument.

Well, someone actually studied whether tag and gas taxes pay for the roads. In fact, this study concludes, after examination of the direct and indirect costs of road building and maintenance, gasoline taxes would need to be increased by 20 to 70 cents per gallon for the roads to be a self sustaining venture. And so, in fact your and my property and income taxes pay a significant component of this infrastructure, to say nothing of my own automobile and gas taxes, since I too have a car and drive it.

So when folks in our government throw darts at even small measures designed to increase a low impact road use such as bicycling (and our own representatives vote nay on the same), it burns me up. However, we can get on the bandwagon here in Savannah and become a Bicycle Friendly Community, allowing us to become healthier individually and achieve greater connection to our community.  The economic benefits are real too, for if we make these quality of life improvements, we become a more attractive destination for businesses and individuals.



Crime is going to be going down, down, down… by clintmurphy
November 28, 2007, 7:32 pm
Filed under: City Politics, County Politics, Crime, Local Politics

This is excellent news!  We are fortunate as a city to have one of the best police chief’s in the country, Chief Michael Berkow. 

Chief Berkow identifies retention as a continuing issue.  One of the things that I promoted in my campaign for City Council was a creative solution of looking at a property tax rebate or exemption for our police officers and fire fighters.  This won’t make a huge difference, but it will be an additional reward to our first responders who put their lives on the line for our greater public safety.