December 2015 Highlights

In December, we approved Winston-Salem Transit's first comprehensive bus system overhaul.  
 
Bus system redesign approved:     On December 21, the city council gave final approval to the first comprehensive redesign of of our bus routes system in the multi-decade history of Winston-Salem Transit.  It moves away from a 'hub and spoke' system in which riders who needed to get from one part of the city to another always have to go downtown first to change buses at the Transportation Center.  The new routes design will include both routes which start downtown and others which are area circulators, with more flexible transfer options.  The new system is designed to provide shorter travel times, better accessibility, increased service frequency, and updated connections to major destinations and employers.
     The approval  followed multiple public input meetings for bus riders, studies of origin-destination and usage patterns, and analysis of how to make the system more efficient while providing better service.  After the initial route changes were announced and public meetings held, multiple changes were made to address rider and neighborhood concerns.  While efficiency and service will be improved, maintaining connections to the many neighborhoods with residents who depend on the bus service will cost a little more.  Current annual operating costs of approximately $5.3 million will increase to about $5.8 million.  I believe that even those of us who don't depend on the bus as our only means of transportation benefit from having a community transportation system in which everyone can get to work, shop, medical care, and elsewhere--even those who can't or don't drive.  Plus, the more of us who choose public transit, the lower the air pollution and congestion for everyone.
     The Winston-Salem Transit Authority will now begin a year-long process of educating current riders and potential new riders on the new routes and schedules.  The target implementation date is January 2, 2017.
 
Christmas trees and other holiday collection notes:     As usual, single-family residences can leave trees (with ornaments and tinsel removed) at the curb for pickup as a part of regular brush collection service.  However (also as usual), that is likely to leave some trees at the curb for weeks as the brush collection cycle makes its winter-schedule rounds.  There's an alternative that is available for all city residents, including those who don't want to wait for curbside pickup:  dropping the tree off at one of the ten city recreation center sites which have been designated as collection points.  For Southwest Ward residents, the closest of these are Little Creek Recreation Center (610 Foxcroft Drive), or Hanes Park (the tennis center parking lot) (625 West End Blvd.). 
     Don't forget that the garbage collection schedule is changed for the first full week of January (the one beginning Monday, January 4).  All garbage collection routes that week will be delayed a day (Tuesday on Wednesday, etc.).  Friday routes will be collected on Monday January 11.
 
Cloverdale Apartments/Ardmore Terrace update:     After months of difficult back-and-forth discussions, I believe that we are seeing movement toward a possible compromise on the future of these long-established apartment home communities.  I emphasize "movement toward" a compromise, not arrival at one.  A compromise that all concerned parties can work with will need to include elements of affordable workforce housing, compatibility with surrounding neighbors, careful redevelopment, and a transition schedule and assistance for residents who are displaced.  Discussions are continuing, and we hope to be able to have a proposal ready for public discussion by the end of January.
 
Southwest Area Plan Update process continues:    The third of four planned public review and comment meetings for the Southwest Area Plan Update will be held Thursday, January 21, starting at 6 p.m. at the Miller Park Recreation Center (400 Leisure Lane).  More details on this ongoing process can be found here:      http://www.cityofws.org/Departments/Planning/Area-Plans/Southwest 
 
That’s my report for December.  As always, you are welcome to email me at danbesse@danbesse.org with comments or questions.  Thanks!