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Old 11-16-2015, 01:02 PM
 
528 posts, read 451,772 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeTarheel View Post
Worst cities in the world? Are you insane? I guess you must not be aware of the countless cities throughout the world that are much, much worse off in every category than W-S.
Which cities outside of the U.S. offer a worse pedestrian experience than roads like Hanes Mall Boulevard, Stratford Road (south of Thruway), University Parkway etc. that are not war-torn or dangerous due to political conflicts or massive gang issues? I'm curious to read your list.

Most cities in the world encourage pedestrianism and offer more pedestrian amenities than Southern U.S. cities, and W-S is even behind other Southern cities. How is it possible for there not to be a sidewalk, crosswalk or pedestrian signal to reach Winston-Salem's largest shopping center, Hanes Mall, on foot? Let's be honest here: Winston-Salem does not have many pedestrians on Hanes Mall Boulevard for a reason.

Sure, downtown and the neighborhoods I mentioned in my previous post are much more walkable, and I think the OP can pull off that lifestyle here, but you know that most of the shopping in W-S is very hard to access without a car. (Fortunately the OP does not seem to be a consumeristic person, so the somewhat-walkable shopping around Thruway/Cloverdale should be sufficient).

Also Winston-Salem's WalkScore is among the worst in the United States at 22. At least it's higher than Fayetteville
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Old 11-16-2015, 01:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shunketsu View Post
Which cities outside of the U.S. offer a worse pedestrian experience than roads like Hanes Mall Boulevard, Stratford Road (south of Thruway), University Parkway etc. that are not war-torn or dangerous due to political conflicts or massive gang issues? I'm curious to read your list.

Most cities in the world encourage pedestrianism and offer more pedestrian amenities than Southern U.S. cities, and W-S is even behind other Southern cities. How is it possible for there not to be a sidewalk, crosswalk or pedestrian signal to reach Winston-Salem's largest shopping center, Hanes Mall, on foot? Let's be honest here: Winston-Salem does not have many pedestrians on Hanes Mall Boulevard for a reason.

Sure, downtown and the neighborhoods I mentioned in my previous post are much more walkable, and I think the OP can pull off that lifestyle here, but you know that most of the shopping in W-S is very hard to access without a car. (Fortunately the OP does not seem to be a consumeristic person, so the somewhat-walkable shopping around Thruway/Cloverdale should be sufficient).

Also Winston-Salem's WalkScore is among the worst in the United States at 22. At least it's higher than Fayetteville
Out of curiosity, have you spent time in many comparable cities?

Those are very car-centric areas you named. That's true. But most mid-sized cities (especially in the Sun Belt) have many areas that were designed with cars in mind, as areas like Hanes Mall Blvd were. And Hanes Mall actually has sidewalks along almost its entire length. The problem is that there are gaps that keep the sidewalks from being contiguous, and if they aren't contiguous, what's the point?

That said, there are also very walkable sections of the city, and a lot of new development is either occurring in areas that are already walkable (WFIQ, the announced Brookstown development near the baseball park, etc.) or are taking some degree of walkability into consideration during development (the greenway connection into the Little Creek development on Hanes Mall).

But if we're comparing apples to apples, malls to malls, are the suburban (in feel) shopping centers in Winston less walkable than the suburban (in feel) shopping centers in other cities? I don't really think so. And are the more urban neighborhoods less walkable than the urban neighborhoods in other similarly sized cities? I don't really think so.
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Old 11-16-2015, 01:45 PM
 
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I'd really like to see Winston-Salem use the train tracks that run along Stratford for mass transit. I've never seen a train on them, so I assume they're not being used at all these days. Those tracks run from Hanes Mall to Thruway, then on into the Hanes Park/Reynolda Rd. area and along the developing Northwest Blvd. district. They then curve around the north side of downtown (right by Ziggy's) and continue by the arts district and on through the Innovation Quarter to the WSSU/Salem College area. A hop on/hop off trolley running that route would be a great thing, I think, and would definitely contribute to the walkability of the city.
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Old 11-16-2015, 02:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by arbyunc View Post
I'd really like to see Winston-Salem use the train tracks that run along Stratford for mass transit. I've never seen a train on them, so I assume they're not being used at all these days. Those tracks run from Hanes Mall to Thruway, then on into the Hanes Park/Reynolda Rd. area and along the developing Northwest Blvd. district. They then curve around the north side of downtown (right by Ziggy's) and continue by the arts district and on through the Innovation Quarter to the WSSU/Salem College area. A hop on/hop off trolley running that route would be a great thing, I think, and would definitely contribute to the walkability of the city.
Those tracks aren't in use, and there's been talk of that through the years (Ready for Rail? - Winston-Salem Journal: Local News) , as well as talk of ripping up the track and putting in some kind of greenway/strollway (https://www.facebook.com/ws.greenway...39129296196473).

I'd love to see either. I don't know if transit is realistic.
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Old 11-16-2015, 08:47 PM
 
528 posts, read 451,772 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UnderTheLiveOaks View Post
Out of curiosity, have you spent time in many comparable cities?

Those are very car-centric areas you named. That's true. But most mid-sized cities (especially in the Sun Belt) have many areas that were designed with cars in mind, as areas like Hanes Mall Blvd were. And Hanes Mall actually has sidewalks along almost its entire length. The problem is that there are gaps that keep the sidewalks from being contiguous, and if they aren't contiguous, what's the point?

That said, there are also very walkable sections of the city, and a lot of new development is either occurring in areas that are already walkable (WFIQ, the announced Brookstown development near the baseball park, etc.) or are taking some degree of walkability into consideration during development (the greenway connection into the Little Creek development on Hanes Mall).

But if we're comparing apples to apples, malls to malls, are the suburban (in feel) shopping centers in Winston less walkable than the suburban (in feel) shopping centers in other cities? I don't really think so. And are the more urban neighborhoods less walkable than the urban neighborhoods in other similarly sized cities? I don't really think so.
Yes, I have spent time in many comparable cities in the Southern U.S., and they are all poor compared to the rest of the world in terms of pedestrian friendliness. I said W-S is one of the worst cities in the world for pedestrianism; it is not the only one, and most of the other cities at the bottom are also in the U.S. (particularly in the South).

The world has a tremendous amount of cities at W-S's population or higher, and if you honestly rank them all in terms of pedestrian friendliness W-S and its Southern peers will be towards the bottom of the list. That is true whether you exclude cities in less developed countries or not. Note that I am excluding cities that are unsafe for pedestrians for other reasons besides urban design and engineering (i.e. war, political instability, extremely high crime rate, etc.) like Mogadishu or Tegucigalpa.

Hanes Mall Boulevard is in no way a pedestrian-friendly road. I am familiar with the sidewalks you are referring to, but there is no sidewalk on Hanes Mall Boulevard between Silas Creek Parkway (Forsyth Medical Center on the other side) and the mall entrance itself. I find it ridiculous that someone from the Bolton area can't safely walk to Hanes Mall even though it is definitely within "walking distance".

It is true that there are some walkable sections of the city, as I mentioned in my first post, and I think with a bit of work the OP can pull off the sustainable lifestyle here. However, the number of walkable neighborhoods should not be the only metric but also the amount of amenities within those walkable neighborhoods. If most of the amenities are located in the car-centric areas, then it's different than if the walkable, urban neighborhoods have enough amenities for a resident to not have to go to the car-centric areas except rarely. In W-S, most of the amenities are located in car-centric areas, although a couple of them have slightly improved their pedestrian friendliness, such as the Thruway/Cloverdale/Miller area.
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Old 11-17-2015, 10:16 AM
 
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I understand where you're coming from now. And yes, from a global perspective, Winston has a long way to go (as do most of its peers). But I'm encouraged by some of the trends I'm seeing.
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Old 11-18-2015, 12:55 PM
 
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Thank you to all who weighed in and shared what you think and particularly those who mentioned specific areas of the city to investigate. I am familiar with WalkScore as I actually almost worked for them (they are from Seattle) when they first started. The algorithm smooths the data and it also includes walkability of things I am not interested in, for example, malls so despite the overall scores, there are pockets within an area that get lost in the overall score.

I am in process of simplifying my life and getting rid of things, not adding more, so a mall is not a necessity in my walkability plans, just basics like food and a pharmacy. If W-S does indeed have Uber and maybe a second choice such as Zipcar, Car2Go, etc. then I would plan to use those for things other than weekly necessities if a bus is not available or convenient, like occasional social plans. I also am thinking ahead to when I am a few decades down the road and may no longer be able to drive, or shouldn't be driving if my vision or faculties become impaired, etc.

I also realize that what I want to do is not the norm in this country, but the fact that I have lived in 6 countries outside the U.S. was a big influence on my thinking as I was able to do exactly what I am describing and wish such a lifestyle was more attainable here even outside the biggest cities. Even though it sounds like W-S would be particularly challenging, someone has to start somewhere to lead to change! I think that's the problem - we don't see people doing alternatives, if we did that might create more demand for better pedestrian amenities such as sidewalks, walking paths, more in-neighborhood amenities such as urban groceries, etc. It actually wasn't that long ago in our own history that people did live this way...children walked to school, moms walked to the corner store to buy milk and eggs, people walked to enjoy their local parks, etc. All of this was true until the 1950's with the rise of the federal highway system and the post-war urban sprawl and I am sad we lost that as a lifestyle choice.

The mention of the railroad tracks was interesting as Seattle has also been discussing our disused tracks as another walking route, we already have a major north-south one called the Burke Gilman trail, and this would give us one east-west.

Anyway, keep the feedback coming as I read every comment in this thread, and I appreciate every comment even if it's not always what I hope to hear.
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Old 11-18-2015, 02:57 PM
 
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Good to hear. I think you'll be able to pull it off. Most of the amenities are in the car-centric areas (not just shopping but jobs and other services), but like me you are not a consumeristic person so you will probably rarely have to go to those areas (and if you do, there is minimal bus service). You will probably find enough amenities within the central parts of the city to comfortably get by. The area with the most grocery stores, Thruway/Cloverdale/Miller, is doable by foot/bus. I wouldn't call it a pedestrian friendly area, but there are sidewalks and crosswalks in most areas, except the horrible "5 Points" intersection which you can avoid by taking a different path.
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Old 01-08-2016, 07:57 PM
 
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Just wanted to thank everyone again who gave feedback on my original post. I am traveling to WS next week to check out the neighborhoods everyone suggested....I am very excited about the visit!
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Old 01-09-2016, 05:19 AM
 
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That is exciting! Have a wonderful trip, and please let us know your impressions of what it would be like living car-free in Winston-Salem. I hope it works out for you.
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