SAVANNAH, GA (December 10, 2012) Closing a section of River Street to traffic in late evenings on Fridays and Saturdays has proven effective after its introduction this weekend and Metro Police already are making adjustments.

 Downtown Precinct officers began closing River Street behind City Hall and reversing traffic flow on the Drayton Street ramp to direct vehicles up to Bay Street at 10:30 p.m. Friday. They re-opened the street about 4 a.m.

 Police were responding to complaints from businesses, residents and visitors that heavy traffic was creating problems and endangering pedestrians. Loud music, confrontational situations and other issues were created by vehicles cruising on the street.

 Police this weekend issued four verbal warnings for loud music and headlights and two citations. They reported business owners and operators were complimentary. 

 “Our intent,” said Police Chief Willie Lovett, “is to protect our citizens and businesses and prevent problematic situations before they occur. We will continue to monitor the results and make adjustments where necessary.”

 The closure will be trimmed back from 4 a.m. to 3 a.m. when businesses close because traffic decreases on its own at that time.

 Capt. Mike Wilkins, commander of the Downtown Precinct, said creating the procedures now, when traffic is lighter, allows time to fine tune before the larger crowds of spring arrive.

 He said additional officers were assigned to oversee the changes and help direct traffic away from River Street. Once the strategy is established, some of those officers will be able to return to their other duties.

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