Team Gahan yawns: “Design streets like gun barrels and people will drive like bullets.”


Supposedly our city will have two-way downtown streets by year’s end, although as I’ve often counseled, and see no reason to refrain from doing so at this late date, you’re advised to be relentlessly skeptical until the work’s actually finished.

Design matters, and two-way streets will help. When they’re implemented — IF they’re implemented — piety will be abundant, and Team Gahan will make frequent reference to enhanced safety.

When the functionaries do this, you should look them straight in the eye even when they react by looking at their shoes (the mayor himself will send for Mike Hall, since he cannot abide unscripted), and say with firmness: That’s true; two-way streets are safer.

So what took you so damned long?

The real American carnage and how to stop it, by John Bennett (Connect Savannah)

… When it comes to reducing speeding, the way forward is clear, it’s all about street design, and the need is critical. AAA reports 46.0 percent of drivers surveyed admitted having driven 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street in the past 30 days, with 10.5 percent reporting they did so regularly or fairly often.

Young millennials were 1.4 times more likely to speed on residential streets.

Speeding is further encouraged when streets are designed like freeways, with multiple wide lanes. No matter what the posted speed limit or how many “radar hotspots” are announced on local radio stations, people drive at speeds that feel “right” to them.

To use a line I cribbed from a Maryland-based advocacy group’s Twitter account, “Design streets like gun barrels and people will drive like bullets.”

Driving 10 mph over the speed limit on residential streets may not seem like a big deal, until you consider how mortality rates increase with speed. A person hit by a car going 20 mph has a 5 percent risk of death.

People hit by cars travelling 40 mph will die 80 percent of the time.

For children and older people, the numbers are even more grim.

Mounting research confirms using a Complete Streets approach — to make streets safe and accessible for people who ride bikes, walk and use transit — reduces crashes for everyone, including drivers.