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CURRENT GREENWAY PROJECTS: A PROGRESS REPORT

The process of funding, planning, designing and constructing a greenway is extremely complicated. (Far too complicated, some argue.) Permitting alone requires at least seventeen basic bureaucratic procedures, as we count them. We won’t attempt to follow all that here, but we will offer a more general report on where current greenway projects stand. And we’ll update periodically when we see further progress.

PIEDMONT REGIONAL GREENWAY - From Winston-Salem through Kernersville and Triad Park to Greensboro, 8.5 miles.

–Funding is in place for a section from Salem Lake to Hastings Hill Rd., and for a culvert under Hastings Hill. Permitting and design phases have begun. Placement of the culvert is currently being studied.

–A study of routing options from Hastings Hill to Kernersville has been funded and will begin this spring.

–Planners have applied for permission from NCDOT to use an existing culvert under Business I-40.

–NCDOT has agreed to construct the on- and off-ramps for the first segment of the Northern Beltway, at Business I-40, with the future greenway in mind. Construction there is set to begin next year.

–The City of Kernersville has funded and designed a section just west of Kernersville’s downtown, and is studying placement of another section farther west.

–Kernersville is kicking off a study of the route east from downtown to Triad Park.

–Guilford County picks up the project from Triad Park east.

CEDAR TRAIL - From Muddy Creek Greenway east to neighborhoods off Peace Haven Road, 0.5 mile.

Funded; in design and permitting phase. Planners are awaiting FEMA approval of designs for a bridge over Muddy Creek, subject to determination of the impact of the bridge on the flood plain.

LANTERN RIDGE - From Muddy Creek Greenway east to neighborhoods off Peace Haven and Contry Club Roads, 0.3 miles.

Funded; in design and permitting phase. Planners are awaiting FEMA approval of designs for a bridge over Muddy Creek, subject to determination of the impact of the bridge on the flood plain.

LITTLE CREEK, Phase 1A - From Little Creek Recreation Center south to Atwood Road, 0.5 miles.

Funded and designed. Permitting underway. Construction set to begin in 2013. (Phase 2A, 0.67 miles from Atwood to Somerset Drive, is a Tier 2 project in the Greenway Plan Update.)

BRUSHY FORK, Phase 4 - Extends current Brushy Fork from Lowery Street south to Reynolds Park Drive (and a

sidewalk connector to Salem Creek Greenway), approx. 1 mile.

–Funded; in design and permitting phase. Planners are awaiting permission for a railway underpass.

–A sidewalk connector along Lowery Street to MLK Blvd has been completed; bike lanes on Lowery will be installed this spring. Sidewalk and bike lanes are in place on Reynolds Park Road to connect to Salem Creek Greenway.

WAUGHTOWN CONNECTOR - From Salem Creek Greenway (via Peachtree Greenway) through the future Quarry Site

Park, to Waughtown Street, 0.85 miles.

A Tier 1 project in the Greenway Plan Update. Federal funds have been programmed. Local funds will be requested this next fiscal year. Awaiting design and permitting processes to begin.

PTRP GREENWAY – Eastern downtown Winston-Salem through the 200-acre Piedmont Triad Research Park and

beyond.

–The central segment of this greenway, from Third to Seventh streets, follows an existing rail line that rises 16 to 18 feet above street level. A segment from Third Street south to Rams Drive (formerly Stadium Drive) has also been incorporated into development plans. The greenway is funded and currently being designed by Stimmel Associates. It is a high priority project for the PTRP, the City and NCDOT.

–Eventually, the City could extend the greenway beyond PTRP, north to 25th Street and south to Salem Creek Greenway.

WFU CAMPUS AND COMMUNITY BIKE RIDE

By Louise Allen
Photo By Bill Petrie Jr.

An estimated 60 people attended the first ever Wake Forest University Campus and Community Bike Ride on Sunday. Despite the cooler fall temperatures the day was a tremendous success. The event was co-sponsored by the WFU Institute for Public Engagement, The Office of Academic Advising and the Sociology Department. The first 25 participants who registered received a free WS Greenways water bottle and all participants received free gelato from Caffe Prada. Leading the ride were community members from WS Greenways, Winston-Salem Community Bike Ride and Winston-Salem Bicycle Cooperative.

The Campus and Community Bike Ride was designed to increase awareness of ongoing bicycle and pedestrian initiatives in Winston-Salem, and to foster a dialogue about how to build a strong bicycling community. Matthew Burczyk, the city’s bike and pedestrian coordinator, and an organizer of the event hopes to coordinate more events like this with the other schools in the community.

The Winston-Salem Community Bike Ride was formed in August 2011, and meets every Sunday at 3pm at Caffe Prada for a ride with neighbors. The group explores different bike routes and Greenways throughout Winston-Salem on routes averaging 8 – 10 miles. The ride is open to everyone regardless of age or skill level, and they ride at the pace of the slowest rider so no one will be left behind. Catherine Harnois, another organizer of the ride and a regular participant in Community Bike Rides explained, “These rides are a great way to meet people and also a great way to spend time with friends and family.”

There was a diverse mix of riders on Sunday with some avid cyclists, but also a good number of people who hadn’t ridden a bike in a while. The ride provided a good chance for these folks to reacquaint themselves with the joy of riding while exploring the city. Davis Bourland, from the Bicycle Cooperative added “If you forget the feeling of riding, the community bike ride will remind you: it’s a bit like flying, and you don’t have to worry about cabin pressure.”

If you are interested in joining the next Community Bike Ride, please check it out here. To learn more about Winston-Slem Bike Cooperative visit here.

An Elevated Greenway at the Research Park

Winston-Salem could have its own version of the famed High Line in New York City (pictured here), according to plans for the 200-acre Piedmont Triad Research Park now being developed at the eastern end of downtown. An existing rail line through the park, part of which is 16 to 18 feet above street level, has been designated as a “rail with trail” greenway project. The elevated portion of the greenway, extending from Third to Seventh streets, could begin construction in a year or so. Next would be a segment from Third Street south to Rams Drive (formerly Stadium Drive). Eventually, the City of Winston-Salem could extend the greenway beyond PTRP, north to 25th Street and south to Salem Creek Greenway. The PTRP greenway would be an exciting complement to the research park’s other features–some already in place--that could make it the most pedestrian- and bicyle-friendly location in town.

New Tanglewood Trail

A new paved trail at Forsyth County’s Tanglewood Park is already attracting a loyal and enthusiastic crowd. The two-mile path makes a figure eight as it moves through the gentle hills of a mature forest, skirting the park’s campground, stables, and a large picnic shelter. The path intersects several times with the unpaved horse trail winding through the area. There are benches and dog waste stations along the way. Take the first left turn after the main park entrance; parking will be on the right. Admission to the park is not charged for use of the trail.

Safer and Smoother

Citizen advocacy works! Two years of lobbying by our friends at Forsyth Audubon has resulted in a new safe and accessible entrance for the Monarcas Creek section of the Bethabara Greenway, the beautiful wooded pathway behind the historic buildings, gardens and ruins of Historic Bethabara. It can now be reached from an entrance at the end of Indiana Boulevard Ext., off Bethabara Road, beside Bethabara Moravian Church. Greenway users have the generous permission of Bethabara Moravian to park in their lot. Thanks go to all those with the City of Winston-Salem who helped create this significant improvement.

The Updated Greenway Plan

A greenway through a major new city park, an extension of the popular Muddy Creek Greenway and a link between Salem Creek Greenway and Forsyth Tech topped the list of new projects proposed by city-county planners in a series of public input sessions in January. A revision of a 2002 plan, the new draft Greenway Plan Update prioritizes 19 proposed routes based on connectivity, feasibility and public support. After citizen comments are considered, the plan will be reviewed by the Planning Board, then move to the Winston-Salem City Council and Forsyth County Board of Commissioners for possible adoption, perhaps as early as this spring.

The first-tier greenways, those that could move through engineering and design to construction within 5 to 7 years, are:
–Waughtown Connector, .85 miles through the stunning 180-acre Piedmont Quarry site, now owned by the city and currently being studied as a new city park. The greenway would allow access around the quarry, providing views of 100-foot walls of rock and crystal clear water below. It would also connect to Salem Creek trail via the existing Peachtree Greenway.
--Salem Creek Extension, from Marketplace Mall to Forsyth Tech, extending by 1.17 miles the current Salem Creek Greenway and providing a dedicated bike and pedestrian route to school for potentially thousands of future FTCC students.
--Muddy Creek Greenway Phase 2 , an extension of the extremely popular greenway from Jefferson Elementary School north to Yadkinville Road, adding 1.67 miles for a total length of 4.58 miles.

Second-tier plans, which could begin construction in 7 to 15 years, include a new but noncontiguous .8-mile segment of Muddy Creek Greenway from Philips Bridge Road south to US 421; a 2.15-trail extending from Bethabara Park north through the Hine and Sara Lee Soccer Complexes to North Forsyth High School; and a .67-mile extension of the Little Creek Greenway between I-40 and Stratford Road southwest of Hanes Mall Boulevard.

Tier 3 projects have been judged to need further assessment, Tier 4 are long-range projects at least 15 years out, and Tier 5 may require some alternative to a traditional greenway.

The plan does not include seven greenway projects that are already in development but have not yet been constructed.

You can see the full Greenway Plan Update online here.

Brushy Fork Greenway Update

When the Winston-Salem City Council unanimously approved funds for the Brushy Fork Greenway at a recent meeting, they paved the way for a significant new link in our expanding network of pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly trails. It's a happy development in an epic fourteen-year tangle with red tape.

This 1.3–mile stretch will run from the Newell-Massey Greenway to a connector with Salem Creek Greenway. It will begin at Skyland Park, at Old Greensboro Road and East Fifth Street, and end at Lowery Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. In the process, it will run under Fifth Street, under Business 40, under a Norfolk Southern Railway line, and under an old, out-of-use street bridge.

"The incredible bureaucratic complications of getting the railroad and the various other agencies that have to approve that area are mind bogling," Dan Besse told the Winston-Salem Journal. Besse, an untiring advocate for greenways, is the city council member who has pushed this project along for more than a decade.

Approval for the project involved FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the N.C. Department of Transportation. City staff had to get 52 different signatures at Norfolk Southern just to get permission to survey the land along the path.

But when completed, Brushy Fork's 1.3 miles will bring together more than 14 miles of virtually contiguous greenway. "This is a developing network of off-street trails," says Matthew Burczyk, the city's bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. "That's really the model we want to use for the entire greenway system."