Featured photo: A completed piece of Salem Parkway’s multi-use path (city photo)

What’s going on with the multi-use paths along Salem Parkway? 

That’s what city leaders discussed earlier this month at a Jan. 17 meeting. According to the city, some pieces of the parkway’s puzzle are in place, such as the trail along Brookstown Avenue and High Street, the Peters Creek Parkway sidewalk and the strollway along Liberty Street. But some of the pieces are still missing.

The project initially started as a partnership between the city and the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Then the pandemic hit in 2020. People weren’t driving as much, which resulted in a decline in revenue for NCDOT. Transportation funds were frozen and the project halted.

Now the city has to find a way to fund the rest.

On Jan. 17, councilmembers on the Finance Committee recommended the approval of a $4.8 million contract with Smith-Rowe, LLC. The contract is set to be approved at the Feb. 5 city council meeting.

So where is the money coming from? According to the city’s Transportation Director Jeff Fansler, it’s been “all hands on deck to make this come to life.” It’ll be a mixture of money from the state transportation improvement program, Winston-Salem Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization direct attributable funds and is “even locally supported through our bond dollars,” Fansler said, adding that there are a “number of different funding buckets that have been compiled to fund this.”

This funding will cover the missing pieces between W. Fourth Street and Liberty Street. Construction begins in May and is projected to last one year.

The Cherry Street ramp will be closed at specific times at night during a six month period, Fansler said.

As for future talks about greenery on the greenway, Councilmember Jeff MacIntosh asked that they pull the city’s new Sustainability Director Shaleen Miller into the conversation to consult about native plants that the city won’t “have to mow over and over and over again.”

Some pathways are complete: Brookstown Avenue and High Street, the Peters Creek Parkway sidewalk and the strollway along Liberty Street. Areas highlighted in red between W. Fourth Street and Liberty Street show where new paths will be created. (city photo)

Paths promote safety 

Multi-use paths can help prevent accidents and keep people safe

This mixed-use pathway will welcome pedestrians, cyclists and strollers. Scooters are discouraged, Fansler said.

Part of the completed pathway uses a tunnel to get under Peters Creek Parkway in order to make it more accessible.

“What this does is provide pedestrian connectivity on both sides of Peters Creek that are accessible without steps,” Fansler said, adding, “This is a good way to accommodate that without having to cross the major facility of Peters Creek Parkway.”

During the city’s walk audit of neighborhoods in East Winston, the city’s vice chair of the bicycle/pedestrian/active mobility advisory committee Carol Hoover emphasized how important a city’s walkability is to residents’ quality of life.

To Hoover, walking is the easiest form of exercise anyone can do. 

“Slap on a pair of tennis shoes, walk out your door and go,” she said.

But a healthier community is created by making “safe streets for people to be active on,” Hoover said. 

That’s where multi-use paths can help.

Once the stretch from W. Fourth Street to Liberty Street is complete, they’ll begin working on the western portion of this pathway. This portion will run from W. Fourth Street to Lockland Avenue, offering a connection to Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

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