October 2018 Highlights

Don’t get spooked, but it’s almost here:  the temporary closure of Business 40 through downtown Winston-Salem.

Business 40 closure set for Nov. 17:     It’s almost here—the long-awaited full closure of the section of Business 40 which runs through downtown Winston-Salem, for bridge replacement and interchange revamping.  The closure period could last up to two years, but state transportation officials now believe that the contractor can complete the work in as little as 14 months.  https://www.ncdot.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/2018/2018-10-31-business-40-closure.aspx 

Multiple north-south bridges across Business 40 will close at the same time, further complicating travel in central Winston-Salem during the closure period.  However, the Business 40/Peters Creek Parkway interchange revamp will be completed and open before the closure begins.  (The announced closure date was moved back a few days in order to make sure that happened.)  For more complete details of the plans and the schedules, see www.business40nc.com .

Remember that all the alternative routes will be more crowded during the closure period, so prepare to slow down, leave more time to reach your destination, and practice your patience for safety.  Have a plan A, B, and C for your alternative routes.  Consider taking transit as one of your alternatives:  Expanded service options between central Winston-Salem and surrounding communities is in place now.  See http://www.partnc.org/biz40service/ for details.  Within Winston-Salem, the city transit agency WSTA has enhanced service available now on Routes including 80, 85, 103, and 107, all of which serve parts of the Southwest Ward.  https://wstransit.com/business-40-closing-options/

Winston-Salem leaf collection begins Nov. 5:     Fall leaf collection in the city of Winston-Salem is about to begin.  This year, the collection cycle begins in quadrant 4 (northern Winston-Salem) the week of Monday, November 5.  Most of the Southwest Ward is in quadrant 2, which probably won’t be reached until the middle of the following week, and due to the prolonged warm weather, that’s not a bad thing this year.  It gives our leaves a little more time to fall and be taken to the curb.  As always, please remember these rules for loose leaf curbside collection:

--Pile them at the curb or street’s edge, but do not block the sidewalk or the car travel lane.

--No sticks, branches, bags, or trash please!  All of those will damage our equipment and cause your leaves to be left at the curb.

--Please do not place leaves on a tarp or over a storm drain. 

--Don’t park in front of the leaves on any day that the collection vehicles may stop by your street; if they don’t see or can’t reach your leaves, they won’t be collected.

--Have the leaves out by early morning whenever collection is supposed to start in your area.  The trucks are only guaranteed to come down your street once in each of the three sweep cycles, and keep in mind that if collection is going a little faster than expected during a given week, trucks could reach your street earlier than projected.

--For the estimated time of arrival in your neighborhood, and other details of loose-leaf curbside collection, see here:  http://www.cityofws.org/leafroutes

City bond issue questions:     There are five important city bond issues on your election ballot this year:  streets and sidewalks, public safety, parks and recreation, housing, and economic development.  Voting on all of them requires five different votes on your ballot.  Each of them would authorize city investment in important capital needs for good public services in our city—from street resurfacing and new sidewalks and greenways, to park improvements, to new radio equipment for public safety response, and more.  You can get details of the proposed investments in each of the five categories here:  https://winstonsalembonds.com/

Remember that the city bonds are the very LAST thing on your ballot this year.  Please be sure to vote all the way through to the end of the ballot!

Also, please don’t confuse the city bonds with those controversial state constitutional amendments.  The bonds come AFTER the constitutional amendments.  Look for City of Winston-Salem, Street and Sidewalk Bonds—that’s the first of the five bond votes on your ballot, and you vote on each of the five categories separately.

I recommend voting “yes” on each of the five city bond proposals this year. 

 

Early voting concludes Nov. 3 at 3 p.m.:     There’s still time to take advantage of early voting in the important mid-term elections underway now.  Early voting runs 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2.  It runs on Saturday, Nov. 3, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

Early voting sites in or close to various parts of the Southwest Ward include these:  Miller Park Rec Center, 400 Leisure Lane, Winston-Salem; Southside Branch Library, 3185 Buchanan Street, Winston-Salem; and Clemmons Branch Library, 3554 Clemmons Road, Clemmons.  Full details of the dates, times, and places can be found here:  http://www.co.forsyth.nc.us/Elections/Documents/2018%20EV%20Schedule_General%20Election.pdf

Remember that you can register or update your registration and vote in one stop only during the early voting period.  If you wait to vote until the traditional election day itself (Nov. 6), you can only vote if and where you were registered as of October 12.

It’s time to vote!

Residential allowed in highway business and general office districts:     In October, the city council approved two changes to our Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) which will allow new residential development in two zoning categories where residential previously wasn’t allowed:  Highway Business (HB), and General Office (GO).  Residential development was already allowed in most other business and office categories.  The change was made in order to encourage development of more affordable housing in areas near jobs, services, and transportation routes in our city.  It should also encourage better redevelopment of presently run-down commercial areas, like parts of the Peters Creek Parkway corridor between Business 40 and I-40.  As I said during the extensive public meeting discussions of these changes, I’m tired of seeing a major stretch of highway adjoining the Southwest Ward be primarily known for strip clubs and pawn shops.  It’s time to encourage positive change there.

Have a great November, including what I hope will be a Thanksgiving holiday filled with good friends and family for each of you!

That’s my report for October.  As always, you are welcome to contact me with comments or questions at danbesse@danbesse.org.  Thanks!

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