January 2008 Highlights

I have updates on several important transportation and other long-running items of city interest this month.
 
Burke Mill Road realignment: 
    A contract for the realignment of Burke Mill Road to intersect with Atwood Road at Stratford was officially approved by the City Council at our January 22 meeting.  I know that many folks form the more suburban area of the Southwest Ward, especially the Atwood neighborhoods, will be happy to hear that.  Work should get underway this spring.
 
Hanes Mall Boulevard work completed:     For those who missed it, the construction work on the Hanes Mall Boulevard bridge expansion and extra lanes has been completed.  I confess that I only use that route personally when there absolutely, positively is no other way to go.  However, I know that some constituents must use it, and it represented one of the worst traffic congestion points in the Winston-Salem area.  Therefore, I pushed through our urban area Transportation Advisory Committee for completion of the project as efficiently as possible.  I understand that its completion has notably reduced delays there.
 
EPA confirms Triad air quality compliance:     The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced January 31 that the Piedmont Triad is one of just 13 local regions nationwide which met their planned goals of early attainment of federal health-protection standards for ground-level ozone (urban smog).  This makes official the good news on this point which I tentatively reported last month.  Winston-Salem worked with more than 40 other local governments in the Triad, private parties, the state of North Carolina, and the EPA in a three-year plan to meet this goal.    As I said last month, we still will have to work hard to maintain our cleaner air over time.  In particular, we'll have to control pollutant emissions from auto travel as population growth and development continue in our region.
 
Greenways update: 
    Funding has been identified and approved for the first phase of the Little Creek Greenway!  The city has all the needed land under city ownership or existing easements, so no delays are anticipated on that basis.  Engineering design is underway.
     Not coincidentally, the city has hired our new Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, Lynda Schwan.  Lynda has worked in the Planning Department for some time with partial responsibility for pedestrian projects.  In her new position, she has moved to the Transportation Department with these projects as her full-time focus.  I am optimistic that having a city staff person (especially one enthusiastic about these issues) working on these matters full-time will help coax projects through the nagging delays which so often plague efforts in this arena.
     I will continue to work for progress on greenway projects including Muddy Creek, Brushy Fork Creek, Salem Creek, Waughtown, and Piedmont Regional Greenway over the coming year.  
 
Stormwater rules:     Changes in the city's legal department have led to a re-review of some details in the proposed stormwater control ordinance updates.  Originally scheduled to be considered at the January meeting of the Public Works Committee, they have been postponed to either February or March, depending on how quickly the review can be completed.   For those interested in attending the discussions in person, the committee's February meeting is Tuesday, February 12, and its March meeting is Tuesday, March 18.  Both meetings will start at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.
 
"Red Rooster" club closure:      As of the end of January, positive developments were in progress on this matter.  However, they had not been finalized.  I hope to have a complete report as part of my February month's end update.