The I-16 exit ramp at MLK Jr. Blvd. and Montgomery Street has frequently been seen as a physical and psychological barrier to economic development, pedestrian activity and neighborhood revitalization along these local streets. While the area to the north of the flyover has thrived in recent years, the area to the south has not seen the same rate of renewal. The benefits of the I-16 exit ramp removal would be significant. A few of the highlights include:
- reclaiming eight acres of developable land, 650 linear feet fronting MLK, and 350 linear feet fronting Montgomery;
- reclaiming MLK as a major economic mixed-use corridor, reinventing it as a gateway to the City instead of as the edge of downtown;
- establishing additional connectivity between downtown to West Savannah and to the potential civic center development;
- creating the opportunity to make Montgomery Street two-way;
- improving traffic flow with a new street grid;
- providing economic opportunities in the newly created City-owned land;
- bringing more people to area which will in turn create a larger marketplace (the population may double or triple); and
- laying the groundwork for expansion of streetcar system.
The feasibility of the ramp removal has been determined through a series of previous planning studies including Reclaiming Old West Broad Street (2012), and studies conducted by the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority (SDRA) in 1998, 2002, 2004 and 2009; and the 2008 GDOT I-16 Terminus/MLK Jr. Boulevard Flyover Analysis and Concept Development Study. These studies are available here.