Winston-Salem’s public transportation system has seen decreased ridership, a tough time hiring drivers, and poor public perception. It’s time to re-think our public transportation infrastructure. There’s no silver bullet, but there are best practices we can pull from other cities.
Economic mobility, access to food, youth gang activity, access to healthcare, and so much more is directly related to the quality of our public transportation infrastructure.
This is what a lot of our bus stops look like. Just a sign that you wait at. No bench. No cover. An overgrown crepe myrtle blocking access for strollers, wheelchairs, and walkers. Riders stand in the rain, sun, or snow to catch their bus.
We have one central bus station with most bus routes starting and ending downtown. A rider may have to take several busses, with long wait times in between, to get to their destination. That could add hours to their day.
We also have huge gaps in our sidewalk infrastructure and our bike lanes are usually covered with debris or parked cars. It can be very hard to get around Winston-Salem if you’re not using a car.
Our greenway network is a bright spot. It is slowly growing, and as more greenways become connected, they will offer true alternatives to driving, beyond just recreation.
Adrian would like to work with the Winston-Salem Transit Authority, Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools, the Transportation Committee, and the Planning Department to create a long term plan for the modernization of our public transportation, pedestrian, and biking infrastructure.
Improved public transportation is something most residents want, but the steps to reach this goal might be painful in the short term. In order to encourage ridership, walking, and biking, the city needs to making driving less convenient in some circumstances. Narrowed streets, no parking minimums, and other traffic calming measures would slow traffic, but make walking, biking, and catching a bus more favorable.
A quick list of proposals to consider:
- Combine WSTA and WSFCS bus systems. Why do we have two fleets of busses that only get used part time? Other cities operate one fleet. If it’s good enough to pick up your kids for school, it’s good enough to take to work.
- Build smaller bus terminals in high traffic zones throughout Winston’s eight wards.
- Build dedicated bike lanes, greenways, multi-use paths, and wide sidewalks connecting those bus terminals to other important residential and commercial zones throughout the city.
- Build a Park-and-Ride so residents can easily catch a bus to PTI airport.