Jan. 17--About 50 people showed up Thursday night at Joel Coliseum to hear recommendations from a final report aimed at providing transportation choices between Wake Forest University and the surrounding community.
"The study is something that we hope will be extremely successful and we will be able to do similar studies in other parts of Winston-Salem," said Margaret Bessette, the assistant planning director of the City-County Planning Board.
The Bicycle, Pedestrian & Transit Study for the Wake Forest University area offers infrastructure and policy recommendations to improve bicycle, pedestrian and transit amenities and use between the WFU campus and surrounding neighborhoods. The boundary the study covers is about a two-mile radius from the center of the WFU campus.
The project is estimated to cost $9.1 million.
Alta Planning + Design, a consulting company with an office in Durham, prepared the study for the Winston-Salem Department of Transportation, the City-County Planning Board and Wake Forest University. Alta focuses on bicycle, pedestrian and trail planning and design.
Goals of the study include safety improvements as well as improved bicycle/pedestrian access and connectivity.
The recommendations focus on five main connection areas in the overall project study area to improve safety and connectivity.
The consultant presented the areas from highest to lowest priority -- Polo Road, Reynolda campus to athletic campus, campus to western neighborhoods, campus to Bethabara Greenway and campus to downtown.
Polo Road, for example, provides a link to neighborhoods west of WFU.
Recommendations include a complete redesign along Polo Road to accommodate a broader range of potential cyclists, create safe crossings for pedestrians and maintain mobility. The consultant suggested redesigning the corridor by adding roundabouts and traffic circles, and removing a center turn lane.
Other recommendations on Polo Road included creating bike lanes from University Parkway to Cherry Street; and installing a four-foot center median between Polo Ridge Court and Long Drive with a mix of university-branded pavers and landscaping.
Other recommendations for transit improvements included fees from apartment complexes to help cover operating costs of WFU shuttle service to complexes, improving pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure around transit stops, and coordinating campus shuttles with the Winston-Salem Transit Authority on campus stop locations and amenities.
Several people who attended the meeting said they liked the plan.
"I think it is a brilliant plan," said Betty Ferguson who lives in the Hope Valley subdivision off Silas Creek Parkway near the main entrance to WFU.
She wants the project put on a fast-track to implementation.
"I think this is a very worthy goal for this part of Winston-Salem," she said.
Mark Richard Leach, the executive director of the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, praised the consultants Matt Hayes and Anne Eshleman of Alta for their presentation.
"To create a more liveable environment where pedestrians, cyclists and motorized vehicles can co-habitate, I think, is a real critical objective in our community," Leach said.
But several people wondered how the project would be paid for and whether Winston-Salem and Wake Forest would help.
Bessette said everything is preliminary and there are no specific finances.
"We need community support and we need to know what recommendations people like," she said. "It's going to take a lot to move forward."
Copyright 2014 - Winston-Salem Journal, N.C.