This month, the city of Winston-Salem will be conducting a walkability study in Reynoldstown and Slater Park neighborhoods. 

The American Association for Retired Persons, or AARP, offers a toolkit that will be used by the city to evaluate the walkability of its neighborhoods. During an audit, walkability is evaluated by how safely pedestrians can travel along a street, navigate an intersection, get from one place to another and more. At the end of the audit, each neighborhood will have a report that lists needs to be addressed in order to improve walkability, which will then be used by staff to make those repairs. 

The walk will start around 10 a.m. on Oct. 14 and will take between 1-2 hours to complete.

But they need volunteers.

East Ward Community Assistance Liaison Sabrina Stowe told Triad City Beat in an email that they would like to have at least 40 volunteers to help conduct the walk.

In June, East Ward Councilmember Annette Scippio requested staff assistance to conduct walking audits within the Reynoldstown and Slater Park neighborhoods to increase pedestrian access in the areas.

Reynoldstown neighborhood in Winston-Salem (photo by Gale Melcher)

“Anybody can go; we are needing volunteers,” Scippio said.

They need 40 volunteers so they can break up the walk, Scippio said, “so nobody’s taking on too far a walk.”

The neighborhoods are very hilly, Scippio said. 

“That’s the challenge,” she added. ““But they’re nice neighborhoods to walk in.”

These are “old established neighborhoods” where a lot of elderly people and young children reside, Scippio said.

Volunteers will meet at United Progressive Baptist Church, 1122 Quincy Caldwell Circle, and should dress comfortably for walking and wear good walking shoes, Stowe wrote. The city will provide “safety vests, refreshments and transportation to and from the walking sites” for volunteers.

Scippio told TCB what they’ll be focusing on during the walk. 

“These are two very old neighborhoods, so I think it’s going to be more around the conditions of the sidewalks, the lack of identifiable [and] safe crosswalks because there are no IDs across these streets.” 

The lack of lighting for pedestrians also concerns Scippio, who expects to find a lot of maintenance needs where tree roots have buckled sidewalks and other vegetation overgrowth.

“Those neighborhoods were built in the ’40s, so there’s no ADA compliance. I suspect we’ll find that,” she added.

“There are things we could probably do immediately and there may be some long-term capital investment,” Scippio said, adding that she hopes the repairs made after the study will “energize the community.”

“It’s not like everything is bad,” Scippio said, “This is just the condition it is [in].”

Community engagement is another purpose for the study. 

“Part of the goal is to get residents to know that they can call when they see things and report them” to the city, Scippio noted.

“When you’re well [and] able, you don’t understand what impediments are for you when you don’t become as vibrant as you are now,” she said. “If your vision’s been impaired, you’re taking such a risk if the sidewalks aren’t smooth.”

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Stowe by Oct. 12. Contact Stowe by emailing [email protected] or by calling 336-462-2341.

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