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Old Posted Feb 16, 2010, 11:30 PM
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Winston-Salem Streetcar Update

According to news reports, the Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership is finalizing work on a downtown streetcar corridor from PTRP Downtown Research Park to Bowman Gray University Medical Center. The big news in this report is a line extension. The line will now connect to Winston-Salem State University and historic Union Station. I still don't know if it will connect to the city's well-known $210 million ballpark project. The plans presented last year show this line about two blocks from the ballpark. According to the reports, DWSP would like to have streetcars in place before the East-West Expressway is closed for upgrades, about five years from now, and before the project to replace bridges downtown with creative designed bridges begins. DWSP feels this rail system is important to move people through downtown during the expressway and bridge closures. So we now know city leaders would like to complete the first line of the streetcar system by 2015.
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Old Posted Jul 15, 2010, 12:18 AM
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News released last week provided more updates.

Cost: $258 million
Length: 8.6 miles

Would include a major renovation of the Downtown Transportation Center.

They are working to finalize the streetcar plans now to seek funding. A fee on cars and a half cent sales tax are among the ways to pay for it. The streetcars would connect the major colleges/universities to downtown; connect all of the tourist attractions to downtown and connect the downtown research park to the medical center (the metro area's two largest employment centers). The streetcars would run through several old streetcar neighborhoods, connecting them to arts, entertainment and employment centers.

I did find a map, but the map only had the major streets and included every proposed transit line and every new proposed bus shelter, with proposed new bus shelter symbols covering part of the streetcar line's route through downtown on the map. It does show enough to confirm the first route has expanded to include Winston-Salem State University. From the map, I'm guessing the streetcar system will have three phases, with Bowman Gray University School of Medicine to Downtown/PTRP Research Park to Winston-Salem State University as the first line.
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Old Posted Jul 15, 2010, 12:03 PM
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Wow, I didn't know WS was in the planning phase for streetcar. Nice! Please post a map as soon as one becomes available (or make on on Google Maps!)
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Old Posted Aug 6, 2010, 3:45 AM
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I apologize for taking so long to reply. I was out of town often during the past few weeks and I had to make the map, which wasn't easy.

WSTA and Piedmont Triad Research Park proposed the streetcar system around 2003. The plan in 2006 was for a "free" streetcar system. I'm not sure if "free" is still in the plans? The system was expanded this year and must be in place before the East-West Expressway is closed for two years (Art Bridge Project and safety upgrades). They also wanted the plans completed this summer, to seek money.

As you can see from this June 2010 regional transit authority update, the map is too cluttered to see the routes clearly and doesn't show much of the street grid. Blue and Yellow is the streetcar system.



I spend some time earlier this week, trying to clear things up with my own map.



The routes are:

East-West: Bowman Gray University Medical Center to Winston-Salem State University.

North-South: Wake Forest University to the LJVM Sports Complex and the Clark Campbell Transit Center.

North-South: Clark Campbell Transit Center to Washington Park and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

It appears to be a college to downtown train and a train linking the two major employment centers in the 12 county region.
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Old Posted Aug 6, 2010, 4:56 AM
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Wow. You mean to tell me some official body actually produced and published that first map? It appears to have been done in Paint.
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Old Posted Aug 6, 2010, 8:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
It appears to be a college to downtown train and a train linking the two major employment centers in the 12 county region.
3 university campuses, a medical center, downtown...
Sounds like a great way to start a streetcar system
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Old Posted Aug 10, 2010, 3:34 AM
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Yes, the first map is the work of the regional transportation authority in their latest report. This is why I had to make my own map.

It actually connects six college/university campuses to downtown. It also connects the N.C. Governor's School and the N.C. High School for Gifted Artists to downtown. It is a party train for teens and college students, connecting them to music, movies, stores, arts, bars, etc., in downtown; though it is promoted as a connector between the Research Park, National Center for Design Innovation and the University Medical Center. It should see use all day, from residents in historic neighborhoods taking it to work to students entering downtown for fun to tourists using it to see the colonial neighborhoods to researchers using it to travel between the medical center, university campuses and two research campuses.

This is what the streetcar will look like (below) with Aperture Cinema and Brew Nerds Coffee in the background.


Source: HDR Inc.

And Winston-Salem was one of the first cities to have electric streetcars. This is the original streetcar system in Winston-Salem from the late 1800's (below).


Source: Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Library

Streetcar inventor Frank Sprague was an investor in Winston-Salem's West End Resort, which included luxury hotels, residences and healing springs.

Another photo of Winston-Salem with its original streetcar system. I wish it was still there. You can see rails and cobblestone streets in some places around the city.


Source: Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Library
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Old Posted Aug 31, 2010, 10:40 PM
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Historic Union Station:


Image Source: Winston-Salem / Forsyth County Public Library

It appears as if Winston-Salem "could" use eminent domain to take historic Union Station from the car repair shop that currently uses it. This could happen during September's council meeting? Winston-Salem's Union Station was the largest train station in North Carolina and it is the only multi-storey train station I'm aware of in the state? I'm guessing it is the tallest train station in the state? We do know it is the most intact historic train station, with all of the original light fixtures, signs, office desks, water fountains, etc., preserved, including original baggage carts. According to the City Manager, Union Station could become a second transportation hub for Winston-Salem. The current Campbell Transportation Center on Fifth Street is over-crowded. Uses for a restored Union Station include commuter rail, Amtrack, regional transportation buses, city buses, taxis and streetcars. This would explain why the east-west streetcar line was expanded to the east, and loops around Union Station. The plans could include an 18-storey mixed-use tower and a street redesign.
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Old Posted Jan 8, 2011, 1:48 AM
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The city of Winston-Salem has voted to use eminent domain to take Union Station from its current owner for $681,900 and pay to move the owner's business. This is expected to go to court. After restoration, Union Station will become the city's second transit center and the main hub of all passenger rail and the eastern hub of the city's proposed streetcar system, as seen in the maps above. This is a major step forward for the proposed streetcars, the proposed commuter rail system and future Amtrack service in Winston-Salem.
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Old Posted Jan 8, 2011, 4:11 AM
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That first map is done in GIS. It's poorly exported, but it would only take about 5 minutes to export it correctly, in which case it would look a lot better.
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Old Posted Jan 29, 2011, 8:46 PM
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Why does this streetcar system cost so much? At $30 million/mile, it's higher than some recently completed LRT systems. Is major streetscape work included?
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Old Posted Mar 2, 2011, 2:40 AM
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The last City Council Meeting on priorities for 2011 discussed the importance of the streetcar system.

I'm guessing (and only guessing) the high cost has something to do with how they will hide the overhead wires. According to the report, they will use artwork combined with landscaping. Winston-Salem is The City of Art & Innovation and has groups working to bring major art projects to the city's new transportation infrastructure. They want this art to become a defining feature of the city. It also appears the streetcar may expand to include the airport. Renderings just released a week ago included streetcars as part of a $275 million proposed mixed-use development northeast of downtown.

The owner of Union Station is still trying to work-out a deal with the city to build his mixed-use 18-storey skyscraper and rail hub. He is seeking $1.5 million to help move the project forward.

The maintenance yard is proposed for the corner of West First Street and South Hawthorne Street, behind the First Street Draught House bar. Due to terrain issues in the Appalachian Foothills (ridges and valleys) Winston-Salem has elevated highways and highway cuts through rock ridges. WSTA will hide the maintenance yard under one of the elevated stretches of highway, in the valley below Hawthorne Hill.
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Old Posted Mar 21, 2011, 12:58 AM
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The city of Winston-Salem held a few meetings to identify what projects the city needs and has decided to offer a $75 million bond to voters this fall. Why $75 million? It's as high as the city can go without increasing taxes. The streetcar system's first phase is $66 million and this bond is considered as a way to pay for it, along with a few other projects. The city could finalize this bond offering on April 18, 2011! I don't know if any other federal money will be requested? It is exciting to see the streetcar system finally move forward toward construction! Please tell your councilperson and the mayor you support streetcars and want them to approve the bond offering for the streetcar system in April! If approved in April, please vote yes for the streetcar bonds this fall!

In the next ten years, Winston-Salem will spend $1.5 billion on infrastructure projects. Among them are streetcars and the Creative Corridors Bridge Project, which will bring some of the top bridge designers to the city to create interesting replacement bridges over the two highways downtown.

A fun quote: (I know how much the forum loves the words "World Class," so I decided to share the quote)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Milton Rhodes
“We’re on the cusp of being a fabulous city; we have a terrific place to live and work. I think we’re going to build a city that’s going to be world class and it’s going to be the envy of many others if we do things correctly over the next few years.
Rhodes also said the streetcar system is a good idea with the increasing price of gasoline, the costs of sprawl and the efforts to create a cleaner environment. He said the streetcar system is part of an initiative to connect all of the city together. I've looked through the plans myself and the bridge project is by far the most impressive. It's amazing how many of these projects are connected to each other. The bridge project (Creative Corridors) is connected to the bike plan and the bridges along with Union Station are both connected to the streetcar project, proposed by PTRP Downtown Research Park to link their campuses, which includes the Armed Forces Institute for Regenerative Medicine, a new VA Hospital, a 300 room hotel and the National Institute for Design Innovation. The streetcars must be completed before the East-West Expressway and I-285 projects downtown begin, closing east-west highway access to downtown.
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Old Posted Apr 23, 2011, 9:49 PM
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Three bond packages are proposed to City Council and they will select only one for voters. I'm guessing the vote is scheduled for this fall? Two of the three bond proposals include the streetcar system. These are the bond packages proposed to City Council: A $75 million bond without the streetcar system; A $101 million bond with the streetcar system and a $125 million bond with the streetcar system. The $125 million bond also includes the city's bike lanes project. The Streetcar System's cost is set at $16,455,000 in the bonds. This is labeled as a 25% match for the first line (East-West Line from the University Medical Center to Downtown and PTRP Research Park).

Ask your councilperson and the mayor to support the $101 million bond package.
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Old Posted May 4, 2011, 1:13 PM
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we should definitely ask to support $101 million bond package.
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Old Posted May 4, 2011, 2:36 PM
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25% local match......................................................
From whom do they plan will fund the remaining 75%?
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Old Posted May 5, 2011, 11:34 PM
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I'm not sure what they are matching? If they are asking for a local match, they must have some money already in place. Likely a grant of some type, since grants usually ask for local matches? There was talk of funding this through foundations and other sources to offer it as a free or extremely low fare service. Maybe they have found a way to offer it with reduced fares? I would think if they ask for bonds, it's not free and since it's only 25%, it's likely reduced fare? At present, Winston-Salem's newspaper isn't covering this story. I'm guessing they will when council members are ready to pass it. I really don't want this in the paper though. If it is to appear on the Fall ballot, they must select the bond package and approve the bond offering by sometime in August, if I'm not mistaken. I did discover strong support for the $125 million package at 60% I think the $101 million bond package has a greater chance, but would love to see the full $125 million bond package approved, to expand bike infrastructure. Winston-Salem actually built Cycle Tracks in the 1970s and 1980s and should expand them. I love to ride on the system of bike and walking trails, with the tunnel under an office building, the parks and the small bridges.
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Old Posted Dec 16, 2011, 3:58 AM
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I apologize for not posting an update in a long time. This is the latest:

The city entered a contract, costing $699,656 (80% is federal money), with HDR in September to conduct an Alternatives Analysis. According to the city government report, "Any transit project pursing federal funds must go through certain studies before it can be considered." The first study is called Alternative Analysis. We can expect the results next summer. The next steps in the process are an environmental impact statement and finally, preliminary engineering. I'm guessing this could take until 2014 or 2015 before we see any construction. City officials want the streetcar in place before 2018; when the East-West Expressway is closed to traffic for two years. The state is completely rebuilding the East-West Expressway and adding custom designed bridges by famous bridge designers, bike infrastructure on the bridges, sculptures and other artsy features for both safety and to help promote the city as The City of Arts & Innovation. Both projects (Creative Corridors and the Streetcar) are exciting to follow.
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Old Posted Mar 2, 2012, 2:16 AM
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During the last Winston-Salem City Council meeting, city leaders spoke on a $100 million transportation bond, which includes the streetcars. It appears the $101 million bond is preferred, which includes the "streetcar match." To have the bond on this fall's ballot, they must approve offering it by April. There is some talk of waiting until next year though? I guess we will see what happens in April. This is exciting, since we've changed from where it will go and how much it will cost to seeking money for it. Seeing the money side is a good sign it will likely happen and happen soon!
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Old Posted Mar 26, 2012, 8:21 PM
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Important Meeting on Wednesday, March 28! Open to the Public!

If you love the streetcar proposal and want to know more, be sure to attend the Community Open House in the Central Library (660 W. Fifth Street) at 5 p.m. Learn about past studies on this project, as well as the current study process and schedule, goals, route options and vehicle types to be considered. Exhibit boards will show possible routes and other graphics. You can talk to the city's staff and ask questions at this event, so be sure to attend. The city will have someone there until 7 to talk to. You may want to suggest a line to the ballpark? The current study, started in February 2012, is a detailed evaluation of various route and vehicle options, as well as a look at regional connections, growth management, economic development and costs. If you would like to know more about this event, contact Stan Polanis at (336)747-6867 or e-mail him at stanp@cityofws.org I do expect to see newspaper articles and TV news stories on the streetcar Thursday. If you do attend, please share what you learned. ..I can't attend. I'm in another state.
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