Rethink the Starland Village parking garage on West 38th and Whitaker Street.

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Foram Group’s Starland Village development on Bull St goes to the MPC for Site plan review on August 7th. Public design documents reveal details of the proposed parking garage on 19 West 38th and Whitaker street. Residents of this area (both supportive and hesitant about the development) are united in their concern with the safety and aesthetics of a parking structure in this location.

 

The safety issues with Savannah’s fast two lane one way streets (Whitaker/Drayton/etc) are well documented:(http://www.wjcl.com/article/sdra-proposes-changes-to-whitaker-and-drayton/8972952

 

These streets are a concern to many citizens, planners and some aldermen. At a recent neighborhood association meeting the police officer attending discussed volume and speed of traffic on Whitaker and the common occurrence of accidents at 37th street. West 38th and Whitaker has also been the scene of multiple accidents. Residents have witnessed multi car wrecks, the foundation wall at 101 W38th has been hit multiple times. The fire hydrant is currently bent over from a crash and the telephone pole was impacted so hard it fell over into Whitaker Street. Having an exit for parking onto Whitaker Street will increase the potential for further hazards and injury to pedestrians and drivers alike. Residents see cars accelerating to beat the red light at 37th reach dangerous speeds towards the West 38th intersection. The parking deck puts a concrete structure with an entrance for pedestrians right where we see frequent accidents.

 

The garage would contain less than half the proposed Starland Village development’s required volume of parking, with the rest inside the apartment building on Bull St. The parking garage will stand 44ft at its highest point projecting above the roofline of adjacent houses. Plans show near 90% lot coverage and the jewel box sides protruding into the sidewalk area. Some residents remember when there were houses facing West 38th St before they fell into disrepair and were demolished. The lot became property of the church and was used for events, but this lot has never had commercial buildings or zoning. Residents would like to see houses returned to this lot on a historic brick paved street. Commercial developments on Bull St and larger buildings should not be encroaching into our residential streets.

 

Local journalists on both sides of the Starland Village development debate have written negatively about the parking garage: Bill Dawers: (http://www.savannahnow.com/news/20180303/city-talk-more-intense-development-more-parking-woes "we are going to end up with a dedicated parking garage at the end of a residential block of Whitaker Street. This is not good urban design."

 

Jason Combs - (https://www.connectsavannah.com/savannah/fear-of-heights/Content?oid=7684647 "Don’t like the idea of an automated parking garage on Whitaker Street? Fine. Don’t require the project to have one. Instead, let’s reduce traffic on Whitaker and Drayton to one lane and use the other for parking, as on Price. That will also address traffic calming needs."

 

Foram group and neighborhood leaders have emphasised their co-operation in this development. We urge Foram to show that they are sincere and re-examine how their parking needs can be met without such a negative impact on West 38th and Whitaker. We urge the MPC to make sure these safety and design issues are addressed at the Site plan review on August 7th. To be clear we are not saying “No Starland Village” but this is an aspect of the development that needs to be looked at again for public safety and to protect the integrity of our historic streets.

 

Ken Masak - 110 West 38th St

Gwendolyn Coney - 12 West 38th St

Joe Scot - 2216 Whitaker St

Daniel Richardson - 18 West 38th St

Barbara Eaton - Metro Star Garden & 2212 Barnard St

Frank Early - 2237 Whitaker St

 



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