The City of Savannah plans to widen DeLesseps Avenue and Skidaway Road near Harry Truman Parkway- but first, they need to take ownership of property in nearby neighborhoods.
The city plans to include sidewalks, bike facilities, gutters and curbs to DeLesseps Avenue. These changes will affect the stretch of road from Waters Avenue to Skidaway Road.
Local residents of Heritage Way apartments agree that there needed to be change and it will be safer for people to cross the street.
“I can’t wait for the roads to be fixed,” says Dre’Shun Hogan. “Honestly it’s been a long time coming. There are definitely some parts of Skidaway that are a bit too narrow for comfort. Although, the construction will be a nuisance, I feel that widening the road and streets will increase safety for the pedestrians.”
Alderman John Hall, who represents the people in the affected area on Savannah City Council, is pleased the roads are being widened. He agrees it will make the roads much safer for pedestrians to walk, ride bikes, and enjoy the beautiful area.
“Although this process will slow traffic down, I want to ensure that everyone in the area is safe. I believe it is time for beginnings in Savannah. I want Savannah to be place where it is way to navigate”.
Hall says the process is expected to begin around May 2020.
A special city council meeting to discuss the use of eminent domain for some properties in the proposed construction area will take place Sept. 26 at 5:30 p.m. at Savannah City Hall.
The area sits within of mile of Savannah State University at the closest entrance to the Truman from campus.
Kamal Fleming, a senior at Savannah State who majors in mass communication, said the road needs to be widened and infrastructure improved.
“The drainage improvement is important because when it rains in Savannah, Delesseps floods badly. It has your tires gripping the road,” he said. “Delesseps is a main road that connects the eastside of Savannah to Truman Parkway and Waters Avenue much faster than going around. The effect students, faculty, and visitors will definitely [feel will] be longer travel time with the detour of Delesseps traffic now being pushed heavily onto Skidaway Road and LaRoche, which is the road the front gate of Savannah State is located [on]- especially during rush hours.”
Savannah native Jamal Touré, who is an adjunct professor at the university, has mixed feelings about the new construction. He questioned if the construction will be worth the use of eminent domain by the city and the nuisance it will cause to the neighbors.
“What is really important about this construction is not how this will affect Savannah State University, yet how do the residents feel, how do businesses feel in regard to the property being taken. In my opinion, it is crucial,” Touré said. “I’m not concerned how the students and faculty will be able to get on campus my issue is with someone’s property being taken. Dr. Haynes Walter says, ‘How does this impact black people?’ How will this construction impact the residents who live along Skidaway and their property? When the city wants to do something to impact the community, it needs to benefit people.”