Cycling savored a moment of glory as Savannah celebrated Dump the Pump Day. Held on June 16, Dump the Pump is an annual event that raises awareness of alternative modes of transportation. City officials worked with Chatham Area Transit (CAT) and the Savannah Bicycle Campaign (SBC) to develop activities that promoted non-car commuting.
Throughout the day, CAT offered free rides on all its fixed-route buses, but at 7:40 a.m., trained volunteers from the Savannah Bicycle Campaign led a group commute from Habersham Village Shopping Center to Savannah City Hall.
At 8 a.m., the third annual Dump the Pump Challenge took place. A bike, a bus, and a car raced from 12 Oaks Shopping Center near DeRenne and Abercorn to City Hall. Frank McIntosh, SBC Director and winner of the previous two challenges, was the cyclist. Bill Broker, Georgia Legal Services Managing Attorney and long-time bus commuter, rode the bus. Sean Brandon, City of Savannah Mobility and Parking Director, drove a car.
Press, volunteers, and city officials paced in front of City Hall until Frank McIntosh rounded a corner and charged down the last stretch of Bull Street to claim his third year of victory. As he dismounted and walked his bike to a rack, McIntosh mused, “I had 20 minutes to get here, but I got here in 18 so I thought I’d take a lap around the square!”
Only moments later, Broker showed up fresh from the bus stop. He and McIntosh stood joking as they waited for Brandon to appear and park his car, which happened about five minutes later. As Brandon crossed Bay Street toward City Hall, he laughed about his tardiness and said, “I got here in a pretty cool car, so there!”
Brandon was driving a Chevy Volt, one of just two in the state of Georgia and on loan to him from Charles Davis, Earth Comfort Company owner. In the press conference following the race, Brandon used the car to launch into the City’s plans to reduce its carbon footprint, which include building charging stations for cars like the Volt.
He also commented on the “droves” of businesses creating a “backlog” as they “clamor” for bike racks from the City. In the next week or two, he also said the City will be welcoming public input on the southbound bike lane expected to hit Price Street later this summer.
Brandon reminded everyone that the City partially funds dot buses, a fare-free way to navigate downtown. Since its inception, dot has seen a 20 percent increase in riders each year with this year marking a year of record ridership.
Contact Micco Caporale.