Coastal Sense


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.



A New Perspective on Dr. Abraham and DOT by clintmurphy
January 8, 2008, 11:51 am
Filed under: transportation

By Clint Murphy

It goes without saying that there has been much in the air about the DOT selection of Dr. Gena Abraham as the new DOT Commissioner.  As the Commissioner, Dr. Abraham runs the day to day business of the department.   

Dr. Abraham brings to this position a reputation of someone who is a problem solver.  This is very much needed in the very bureaucratic DOT.  Not to penalize or speak ill of those who work there, but DOT was way past needing an overhaul and Dr. Abraham brings the right level of experience, determination, and know how to make the necessary changes.

DOT must move beyond the Department of Roads and Bridges and realize that in this modern age, transportation means moving people, not just automobiles.  As oil prices soar, and oil is an ingredient in asphalt, the costs of these much hyped roads will increase to an unsustainable cost.  Ideas such as “Complete Streets”(a policy adopted by both Florida and South Carolina), Context Sensitive Design, and public transit must be part of the new dialogue at DOT.  

Those DOT Board Members who voted for Abraham should be commended for making a change for progress, innovation, and ensuring that DOT is a more results oriented government agency.  For some legislators to threaten retribution for votes for Abraham suggests a short sightedness that is very troubling to me and others who follow happenings such as this.    

Legislators would be wise to abandon these ginned up threats of retaliation against the Board Members who voted for Abraham.  The vote for her embodies the real creed of reform that is the true essence of the Republican Party.  To oppose such an effort would surely open some to accusations of hypocrisy. 

As someone familiar with transportation issues on a local level as a member of a Metropolitan Planning Organization and very well versed in some of the positives and negatives of dealing with our DOT, it goes without saying that the agency is in need of an overhaul and not more of the same. 

On some levels, DOT is the last bastion of the old way of doing business in Georgia, both in terms of the projects and process.  Georgians turned the state over to the GOP to ensure reform and we all know that reform is not easy.  Changing bureaucracies is a fight that takes time and a sustained effort.    

If some of those opposed to Abraham would stop and analyze this further than their own somewhat parochial interests, they would realize that Abraham’s election is consistent with their own beliefs for accountability, efficiency, and reform. 

Efforts to undermine the progress made by the selection of Dr. Abraham will, in my humble opinion, make a mockery of what some of in the Republican Party have labored so long to build. 

Finally, thank you to Governor Perdue and Lt. Governor Cagle for putting forth and supporting Dr. Abraham.   



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.



Is I-3 Necessary? by clintmurphy
January 2, 2008, 11:33 pm
Filed under: transportation

With news today that the proposed route for Interstate 3 is being discussed, it made me think back to the highway when it was originally proposed by Congressman Max Burns in 2002. 

I believe that there can be a case made for a Savannah River Parkway connecting Savannah and Augusta, and perhaps a connector to Athens and perhaps a tie in to I-85 too, but much past there and it would appear to be a diminishing return on investment.

With oil prices as high as they are and transportation funds scarce as they appear to be, there is going to have to be a needs based formula in determining what gets funded and what does not. 



Growth can slow you down by drewwade

Now the single biggest threat to our economic livelihood is transportation, and we’ve got 20 years of catching up to do.

So said Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce President Sam Williams in this recent Georgia Trend article. The tremendous economic growth of Atlanta in the last 20 years has left it, in the absence of sound regional planning, with one of the worst records for traffic in America today (ranks fourth in annual traffic delays per commuter, averaging 60 hours of time and 44 gallons of fuel wasted).

Gridlock signMany of us here in the coast, including me, are here to avoid the headaches of that way of living. But with growth here in the coast, how can we prevent our own gridlock?

1. Do not follow their (i.e. Atlanta’s) lead. Building more lanes for growth invites congestion. Increasing capacity for more and more motorized vehicles is really operating in the absence of a plan.
2. Promote transit. Fund it well and patrol the system, make it efficient with express buses and ferries. Provided that they feel safe, people will use it because it saves them time, expense and effort.
3. Complete the streets. This strategy, codified in state law in Florida and South Carolina, requires pedestrian and bicycle facilities for all new road projects. The reason so few people use their own power on short trips in many cases is that they don’t feel safe doing it on our cars-only road designs.



I tend to agree with Greenspan… by clintmurphy
December 16, 2007, 7:51 pm
Filed under: real estate

Interesting news made by Alan Greenspan. 



Random Thoughts… by clintmurphy
December 16, 2007, 7:15 pm
Filed under: Clint, Life, Random | Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s finally feeling like winter in Savannah.  For a while there, I was singing, “It’s beginning to feel a lot like Easter…” it was so warm… But alas, it’s cold.  It will probably last a day or two and warm back up in traditional Savannah style…

Most people know I like politics, and some think that’s the only thing I seem to be interested in.  Just because I worked in DC and seem to have been involved in politics for as long as I can remember, I hope it’s not the only thing that people identify me with on a personal level. 

I’m a people person.  I pretty much enjoy doing anything with friends, however, my personal favorites growing up included playing tennis – not that I was any good, but I enjoyed the game!  I need to take tennis back up as a hobby!     

I like to write and a lot of people don’t know that about me.  I should have been a journalist.  Growing up, I used to want to be a news anchor actually or be a writer for movies and television shows.  Instead, I got involved in politics and worked in DC for the NRCC and HUD.  I ran Barbara Dooley’s unsuccessful campaign for Congress (YES, Coach Vince Dooley’s wife).  To paraphrase the great Gladys Knight, DC proved too much for the man and I returned to Savannah and am now a REALTOR

I’m actively trying harder than I have in the past to take up new hobbies and develop some interests outside of politics… Kayaking has been on my list for a few years and I’ve made no headway on that, but 2008 will be the year that changes.  So too am I taking up biking, prodded along by a new friend made during my campaign for city council.  It seems a bit easier right now than kayaking!  As well, it has helped me appreciate the need for more bikeways.  Sailing is fun too and thanks to a buddy of mine, who from time to time takes me out there, it’s more fun than I could ever have imagined. 

In terms of Savannah, I recently ran for City Council.  I chair the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Chatham Urban Transportation Study (CUTS) and sit on the Policy Committee.  CUTS is the official Metropolitan Planning Organization for transportation in Chatham County.  In 2008 we will begin to update the LRTP (Long Range Transportation Plan).  As well, I am on the Georgia Steering Committee for Senator John McCain’s campaign for President of the United States

Furthermore, I am a cancer survivor and for the past several years have been involved with the American Cancer Society Relay For Life.  I have served as a team captain, having lead the highest grossing team in the event’s history in Savannah, Co-Chair of the event, and most recently am the publicity chairman. 

So, I’d like to think, and hopefully it’s true, that there is more to my life than politics.  I’ll just have to work hard at bringing them out there…