We attend a lot of city meetings and hearings. There are sub-committees, and finance committees, and advisory boards, and public-input meetings, and City Council meetings all where the future of our greenways and bicycle infrastructure in Winston-Salem is put to a vote. Lots of meetings and lots of voting.
Not too long ago, I wrote about a big project the city was working on which needed our support. You guys came through in a big way and more than 70 people showed up to one of these meetings and now, figuratively, we will have a Multi-Use Path in our city that will connect Baptist Hospital on Hawthorne Rd. to the Strollway, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and Salem Creek Greenway. I say “figuratively” because the next step is to find a way to pay for the completion of the Multi-Use Path.
To Which Our Council Repied
One of the many things that makes living in Winston-Salem great is our City Council. They are super hard working, creative at solving problems, and are obviously on the council because they love the Camel City and want to see it succeed. City staff and City Council worked together to find the money to complete the necessary infrastructure so it would be possible to do when we eventually find the funding to complete the entire project. I’m very proud of our council members who have supported this project from the beginning and who are not going to let hurdles get in the way of seeing this into reality.
Bicycles, TIGERs, and Beers — Oh My!
This is a reference to a movie which was used to get your attention. Beer has nothing to do with this post but if I simply called it TIGER, you wouldn’t have gotten the reference and probably wouldn’t have read any of this. TIGER stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, it’s a competitive grant and it’s hard to get awarded one. So much so, we don’t usually have projects that even qualify for application and when I heard that this Multi-Use Path project through downtown Winston-Salem could be a good fit, I was excited! And when I heard it was very likely this project could be awarded the TIGER grant, I was pumped. All we need to do is apply.
Not So Fast
This is a democracy and we need to make sure we want to use our city’s resources to file an application. I said it was very likely, not easy. Remember, this is a highly competitive grant and would require a lot of hours from City staff working with a paid consultant to make sure we submit everything properly. City Council will need to discuss moving forward with the TIGER grant.
I’m happy to say five of the eight Council Members have shown support for applying for the TIGER grant but some Council Members suggested, in the interest of being more informed than less, they wait until their next meeting on April 4th to vote on it. Most of the Council Members had good things to say. Dan Besse recalled when we packed out two rooms at City Hall in support of this project. Molly Leight admitted to being skeptical when she first saw the project and after learning more about it and hearing from us, she sees the value and supports this project. Jeff MacIntosh noted that parking in downtown is expensive and encouraging people to use active transportation could save them money. Money they could spend at local shops and restaurants.
This Multi-Use Path Isn’t Going To Build Itself
It would be truly fantastic, but as of writing this, nature has not built us any Multi-Use Paths, bike lanes or greenways. I went back and forth with the heading, “This Multi-Use Path Isn’t Going To Build Itself” and “It Takes A Village To Raise A Multi-Use Path” and ultimately went with the one you see because it will require each and every one of us to make this project a reality. All the way down to using it when it’s complete.
We currently need “early adopters” — as they’re called in the tech industry — to continue to show all of our Council Members support throughout the process. Robert Clark wasn’t sure why cyclists would like to ride beside the highway and Vivian Burke and Denise Adams noted their concerns on such a large sum of money going to one project.
We need people to let Robert Clark know why they would use the Multi-Use Path that will be beside Business-40 and we need to let all the Council Members know we want Winston-Salem to actively pursue a connected network of bicycle infrastructure. Understand their concerns and reassure them of the value the trail will add. A quick email now could equal awesome bicycle projects in the future. When your done, go ride! I’ll see you out there!