September 2011 Highlights

 

Transportation studies, small area plans, and donation container rules highlight my September report.

Transportation project studies: At our September 19 meeting, the City Council approved two important transportation policy studies with the potential to directly benefit the Southwest Ward.

First, there is the Peters Creek Parkway streetscape design and corridor improvement plan study. This plan will help develop ways to improve the appearance, pedestrian safety and accessibility, and overall vitality of the commercial corridor between Business 40 and I-40. The efforts will be designed to complement the work of the citizen-led Peters Creek Community Initiative to revive this key entryway to our community. Most of the cost of the study is being provided through the federal surface transportation program.

Second, there is the advanced study and alternatives analysis for our potential central-city streetcar system. Under the preliminary route proposal for the initial streetcar loop, its southwestern end would be anchored by the WFU/Baptist medical center. A streetcar system is a transportation system, of course, especially useful as a pedestrian circulator in downtowns and other highly developed urban areas. Where it differs from alternatives like buses, however, is that it is also a powerful economic development tool. Streetcar systems typically far more than pay for themselves in public tax revenues from the intensified economic investment they attract. This streetcar analysis is being entirely funded from federal, state, and regional transportation study funds. I will be discussing streetcars more over the coming year.

Unattended donation containers: Also at our September 19 meeting, the council approved a compromise version of the proposed rules governing unattended donation containers. These are containers ranging from the detached semi-trailers used by Goodwill Industries, to the smaller bins used for collecting used clothes and shoes for other groups. An initial version of this proposal would have prohibited unattended containers altogether. Instead, we developed and approved a compromise version which will limit the number of these containers to one per lot, require them to be clearly marked with information identifying the owner and beneficiaries, and provide a strict enforcement mechanism to require that the areas around the containers are kept clean. I'm pleased that the compromise version was adopted with the support of all the involved parties.

West Suburban Area Plan: The draft West Suburban Area Plan has been approved by the Planning Board and is scheduled to come before the City Council's Community Development, Housing, and General Government Committee (CDHGG) meeting for discussion on October 11, 6:30 p.m., City Hall. The West Suburban area includes that part of the Southwest Ward which is west of Silas Creek Parkway, between Country Club Road and US 421. (It also includes parts of the West and Northwest wards.)

Small area plans provide guidance for city departments in reviewing zoning issues and planning infrastructure development. The plans are not legally binding, but they are developed with much thought and citizen input, so their recommendations are very influential. The draft West Suburban Area Plan has been put together with help from a citizen advisory committee and several public input meetings over the past year. Once reviewed by the CDHGG committee, the plan will be set for final public hearing and consideration by the full City Council in November.

Northwest Area Plan: The draft Northwest Area Plan is in its final stages of preparation by city staff and citizen volunteers. The final community review meeting for this plan, prior to its submission to the Planning Board, is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Whitaker Elementary School. The Northwest small area plan includes that part of the Southwest Ward east of Silas Creek Parkway and between US 421/Business 40 and Country Club Road. The Northwest small area plan also includes sections of the West, Northwest, and North wards.

October calendar: Here are some of the other noteworthy community events taking place in the Southwest Ward or nearby in October:

--"Big Sweep" community cleanup: Saturday, Oct. 1, 9 a.m., locations around the city. See www.kwsb.cityofws.org for more information.

--Ardmore 5k: Saturday, Oct. 8. The popular Ardmore road race returns again to raise money for Second Harvest Food Bank. Details are at www.ardmore5k.com.  

--Community Roots Day: Saturday, Oct. 22, starting at 9 a.m., this year in the West Salem neighborhood. This is our city's annual tree-planting volunteer project. For more info, contact Keep Winston-Salem Beautiful at 771-5161 or the KWSB website noted above.

"GoExpo" event: This exposition sponsored by the Winston-Salem Community Sustainability Program Committee will highlight ways for homes and businesses to save energy and otherwise reduce their environmental impact. It will include an opportunity to test-drive cleaner cars. It's being held this Saturday, Oct. 1, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Benton Convention Center. More info is available atwww.GoExpoWS.com.  
 

Fire Prevention Month and Citizen Fire Safety Academy: Finally, October is Fire Prevention Month in Winston-Salem. Among the activities will be a Fire Safety Smoke Trailer educational display at the Dixie Classic Fair; demonstrations on how car accident victims are removed from vehicles; cooking safety presentations at South Fork Recreation Center (Oct. 11, 11 a.m.); and in-school presentations. For those who really want to learn more about fire prevention and how firefighting works, there's the Citizen Fire Safety Academy. It's held four consecutive evenings 5-7 p.m., Oct. 17-20. For more info on these activities or to apply for the citizen academy, contact Jazmine Kilpatrick, 773-7965 or at jazminek@cityofwsfire.org.