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Fill seats to fix problems

I know so many people who ride bicycles, or want to. It’s part of my daily life too. And often, I hear a lot of concerns and complaints…

  1. Drivers are so aggressive and/or distracted — they pass too close, too fast, cut me off

  2. There aren’t any greenways or bike routes near my home or work

  3. I don’t feel safe riding on the roads, and I wouldn’t let my kids ride on their own

  4. There is so much trash in the bike lane

  5. Our greenways aren’t connected

  6. People always park cars in the bike lane

  7. City policy and programming doesn’t promote cycling for transportation enough

  8. I would like to ride a bicycle but I don’t feel safe

The list goes on and on. There are many challenges we face as riders, and a community, and sometimes it can feel overwhelming and hopeless. Where do we start?

I am excited to share that there is something we can do to address these issues and make biking in our City easier and safer for everyone!

The City of Winston-Salem Recreation & Parks Commission, responsible for advising the operation and management of the parks and recreational facilities in WS, has developed a letter proposing support and funding for four initiatives to make Winston-Salem a more livable community. You can review the full letter or check out the highlights below.

The proposal will be brought before the Public Works Committee on Tuesday, August 13 and then the City Council on Monday, August 19.

We encourage riders and advocates to show up at the meeting in support of these important steps. A strong showing of citizens for something like this can make a HUGE difference as to whether or not our elected officials and City staff take it seriously.

Letter Highlights:

1. Set a goal to eliminate pedestrian and bicycle fatalities within 5 years. Of course we should be doing this! No one needs to be injured or killed while walking or biking in Winston-Salem. Setting the goal, making safety our highest priority, and monitoring our progress is important to making it a reality.

2. Establish a Winston-Salem Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC). This would be huge for our city!! A BPAC provides guidance to elected officials and others who make decisions that impact bicycle and pedestrians and an ongoing process for resident input. Any bike-friendly city you can think of has a BPAC (Oakland, CA for example). They are critical to providing a voice for non-auto perspectives, pushing innovation and progress, and holding the City and community accountable.

3. Adopt the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide to begin citywide traffic calming policies to prevent bicycle and pedestrian fatalities. This guide is chalk full of tools and the tactics cities use to make streets safer, more livable, and more economically vibrant. If adopted by the City we could begin to see a transformation in how  our local ordinances and how engineers design our public spaces.

4. Revise Winston-Salem’s Mission and Vision statements to incorporate “safe, sustainable, accessible and equitable transportation choices” verbiage. The current mission is to “provide quality, affordable services that ensure the health, safety and well-being of citizens, while collaborating throughout the community to ensure its economic, social and environmental vitality.” Adding verbiage about transportation, which every citizen needs, could help solidify a commitment to improving access and safety to a multi-model transportation system.

CALL TO ACTION:

If you want to see solutions to the issues listed above, in your lifetime, you should get involved in the process of demanding progress. Let’s pack out City Hall at these meetings!

Public Works Tuesday, August 13  6pm City Hall – Room 239

City Council Monday, August 19  7pm City Hall –  Council Chamber Room 230

If you can’t attend in person, please email your representative, or the entire city council, and let them know if you support the proposal. 

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