May 2019 Highlights

This past month we acted on street resurfacing, pedestrian safety, sidewalks, affordable housing, and more.  First, here’s an important reminder on bulky-item pickup collections:

Bulky item pickup:     The bulky item collection weeks for most of the Southwest Ward are coming up in June and July.  Don’t miss your chance!  Check out the rules and get the week of your scheduled collection here:  http://www.cityofws.org/departments/sanitation/collections/bulky-items

Resurfacing contract approved:     I delayed sending my May update in order to be able to report on the city council’s final action on the largest street resurfacing contract which we’re expected to consider this calendar year.  I am very pleased to be able to report that it was approved at our June 3 meeting, which means that the contractor will be able to start the first round of work this summer.  (The contract had been scheduled for action at our May 28 meeting, but final action was delayed to June 3 due to a late question regarding subcontractor selection.*)

   Streets in the Southwest Ward in this contract include these:

--Browndale St (Griffith Rd to End Pavement)

--Anson St (W Academy St to N Sunset Dr)

--Deerwood Dr (Elderwood Av to Blackwood Av)

--Seaman St (Thurston St to Hanestown Ln)

--Mill St (Thurston St to Hanestown Ln)

--Thurston St (Ricks Dr to Seaman St)

--Kirk Rd (Kester Mill Rd to Kirk Rd)

--Lyndhurst Ave (Bethesda Rd to Knollwood St)

--Rosewood Ave (Magnolia St to Miller St)

--Weatherbee Dr (Netterillo Dr to Dead End)

--Plaza Dr (Healy Dr to Cul de Sac)

--Melinda Dr (Westview Dr to Knollwood St)

--Gales Ave (Hausman Dr to Gales Ct)

--Lamont Dr (Gales Ct to Princeton St)

I cannot be certain at this time which streets will be completed in which months.

Pedestrian safety projects approval:     At the May Public Works Committee meeting, we approved a list of priority intersections for pedestrian crossing safety improvements.  The list was based on a city Transportation Department analysis of 10 years of the most serious pedestrian-vehicle accidents in Winston-Salem.  These high-risk intersections around the city will be targeted for safety work including marked, signalized, and well-lighted pedestrian crossings.  The projects will be funded out of the $2 million for pedestrian safety included in the city council’s 2019-approved bond issue, along with $1.5 million available from other capital project sources.

     The top-tier intersections approved for action include 22 which were either the site of a fatal pedestrian accident over the past 10 years, or were already in the planning pipeline for other safety reasons.  A list of those projects is posted here:  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10218077038733946&set=a.1896574690530&type=3&theater

     While this is a good start, we anticipate that the funding available will be sufficient to cover the costs of many more pedestrian safety improvements in the future as well.    

Progress on sidewalk projects:     The city council on May 28 approved contracting the engineering and design for two more important sidewalk projects in the Southwest Ward (among other projects around the city):  the Griffith Road sidewalk from Burke Mill Road to Kimwell Drive, and the Silas Creek Parkway sidewalk from Bolton Street to Lockland Avenue.  The council also previously 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. 

Budget Inn property progress:     I am pleased to be able to report that the community non-profit project to remove the old Budget Inn (corner of Academy Street and Peters Creek Parkway) and replace it with quality modern workforce-affordable housing is making good progress.  The Peters Creek Community Initiative (PCCI) partnership has completed its acquisition of the property, closed the motel, and secured the site.  The buildings will be inspected for problems like asbestos in the ceiling before being demolished.  Depending on what is found, the demolition and cleanup of the site could be completed this calendar year.  Simultaneously, work is underway by PCCI to attract the additional private/public investment needed to develop the site with new workforce-affordable housing that complements the surrounding neighborhoods.  I will report major new milestones in this important project as they take place and are reported to me.

Youth Citizens Police Academy:     Don’t forget that 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 May.  As always, you are welcome to contact me with comments or questions at danbesse@danbesse.org.  Thanks!

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*(Background on the delay in resurfacing contract approval:  The contract had been scheduled to be approved last week at the council’s May 28 meeting.  However, it was delayed while city staff and council members looked into a local construction subcontractor’s complaint that his family’s company had been unfairly passed over for part of the work.  That review determined that the contractor was still meeting its obligations to utilize minority- and women-owned subcontractors for significant portions of the work, utilizing other companies.  The subcontractor who complained had not received the subcontract he sought, when another subcontractor bid for the same work at a significantly lower price.  City staff will still ensure that this local minority-owned construction company is informed and encouraged to submit bids on other city work still available.)