April 2019 Highlights

April included much focus on pedestrian safety issues.  First, here’s important information on storm-related brush collection:

Storm-related brush collection:     The wind storm last Friday brought down a high toll of tree branches and some entire trees.  In order to prevent problems which could result from large piles of wood debris along streets for an extended time, city brush collection will be operating under weather emergency protocols this week.  Extra crews have been assigned to the work and collection requests will be addressed outside the usual scheduled circulation.  You can report collection requests to CityLink by phone (336-727-8000) or online at http://www.cityofws.org/departments/city-link

Pedestrian safety report:     At the April Public Works Committee meeting, the city Transportation Department reported its findings on our requested ten-year back analysis of serious pedestrian-vehicle accidents in Winston-Salem.  During the past nine years, there have been 33 fatal accidents involving pedestrians in the city, and many more serious injuries reported.  Of the findings, it’s noteworthy but not surprising that 29 of the 33 fatal accidents took place during evening hours (after sunset).  It’s less predictable that two-thirds of the fatal accidents occurred where there was sidewalk available.  The locations of serious accidents appeared to connect more closely to blocks/areas without signalized pedestrian crossings available.  Most of them seem to result from pedestrians needing to cross busy streets without safe crossings available.  Therefore, following the presentation, committee members asked Transportation staff to prepare a preliminary list of high-risk intersections around the city which would be good candidates for marked, signalized, and well-lighted crossings as pedestrian safety improvement projects.  We expect to see the first draft of the report in May.  The April committee report can be found in agenda item G-1 of the Public Works Committee here:    https://winston-salem.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=672046&GUID=B65BFE10-E463-4DEA-BB0B-7BC2F68B3A6F&Options=info&Search=

Pedestrian safety project funding, and other bond projects:     The city council on April 15 approved a $28 million package of capital projects for bond funding over the next three years.  These are projects in addition to the public referendum-approved projects, using debt capacity which should not require any tax rate changes.  For comparison, the referendum-approved package passed by voters last fall included $122 million in capital projects.

     At my urging, the new approved bonds package includes $2 million in funding for pedestrian safety improvement projects.  These are intended to consist primarily of improved major street/road crossings at dangerous, high-use intersections around the city.  (See explanation above.)

     A complete list of the projects included in the new $28 million package can be found in the City Council agenda attachments for April 15, item G-2, at https://winston-salem.legistar.com/MeetingDetail.aspx?ID=671949&GUID=5FD5F678-D428-4398-A232-96A3AA8B431A&Options=info&Search=

Salem Creek pedestrian sidepath:     The city council on April 15 also approved the engineering contract for the Salem Creek Greenway pedestrian sidepath, which will connect the western trailhead of the Salem Creek Greenway at Marketplace Mall with the Link Road area of the Ardmore neighborhood.  This is one of several greenway and sidewalk projects that I am pushing for completion.  I’ll continue to post updates on these as progress is made.  Others include the Little Creek Greenway extension, the Griffith Road sidewalk, the Miller Street/Silas Creek Parkway pedestrian crossing improvements, and others.

‘Get on Board for Public Transportation’ Day:     I spent most of the day April 25 on public transit systems in Winston-Salem and the Piedmont Triad, as part of “Get on Board for Public Transportation” Day here.  This was a national educational effort to encourage citizens who have not used their public transit systems recently to check them out.  I posted some of my photos and observations from the day here:  https://www.facebook.com/dan.besse/posts/10217752069249912

Youth Citizens Police Academy:     The Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD) is  accepting applications for the Youth Citizens’ Police Academy. This program is being offered to young men and women, ages 16 or older, who are interested in learning about the WSPD or a career in law enforcement. There is no cost to participate.  The Youth Citizens’ Police Academy will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 8-12 at the city’s Public Safety Training Center, 1200 N. Patterson Ave. Lunch will be provided. Topics will include criminal investigations, forensic services, SWAT demonstration, canine demonstration, the firearms training simulator and more.  The application deadline is June 15.  For more information call Officer Claudia Morgan at 336-408-8126 or send an email to cmorgan@wspd.org.

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