How and where can we use the TOD concept (involves a mixture of increased residential densities, retail and offices clustered at specific locations along a transit line) to place housing and job locations in closer proximity and reduce trip miles?
How can we promote development that can be conducive to a transit station locating there in the future?
An e-mailed response:
Focus first on areas with large employment centers and a relatively dense residential population who may be more likely to live in these types of areas and use transit. Perhaps areas such as Ardmore/WFUBMC/Forsyth Hospital, Wake Forest University, Washington Park, WSSU.
Sprawl-style office development like the giant HanesBrands offices on the north edge of Winston-Salem and industrial development like the "old" Dell plant on farm land should be actively discouraged. Incentivizing office and home development in the CBD is essential. Incentivizing industrial development in/around areas like Smith Reynolds Airport and Reynolds Blvd where industry already exists (but has scaled back) is also essential. These are traditional hubs of activity which are currently too sparsely populated with people and business enterprise to support the transit that spawns more vibrancy. So which is first? Building the fixed guideway transit or the development of dense urban cores? The dense urban cores will need to precede the transit by a short time. So prohibiting the creation of new office parks and rural industrial complexes would be a start--as long as the correct incentives are in place to allow and enthusiastically encourage central urban infill development of office, housing and industry in a mixed and organic fashion. But the problem goes deeper. The organic, mixed up and vibrant development will not occur with the current disconnected street grids of Winston and K-ville (our other towns and villages have no real street grid to start with). Organic development will also not occur without a scrapping of zoning and the embracing of smart code (minus any aesthetic regulations) and small multi-lot development in each city block.
So reconnect (meaning maybe twice as many connections as currently in place) East Winston and Waughtown with the CBD--that would be a start to solving the connectivity problem. Reconnect Liberty and Main (don't be scared of small blocks and weird intersections--this is not design for the automobile). If you keep making streets like the MLK Jr. extension you are basically killing TOD before it begins.
Rather than relying only on a hub system, look for traffic patterns that would support additional special routes.
If the currently existing train tracks are revitalized and a train system is developed, you can connect all areas of the city and wherever you have a train station, you will have residental and retail needs. Having lived in large cities with train transit, I know this concept not only works, but is optimal. Additionally, having a system of buses that connect easily and regularly with train transit, will bring the entire city together, offering affordable housing options and opportunities for retail, community, park, school and church development and integration.
Why can't WS figure out light rail? It's been talked about for ages.
Identify nodes of activity & designate now.
Stratford Road, downtown
A plan that considers safety first.
Consider existing activity centers (Whittaker Square, Meadowlark/Robinhood, Country Club/Peacehaven, etc.). Rather than creating new developed areas for TODs, worth with what we have! And link existing centers to each other, not just to downtown.
Rail will be key. Get these rail projects moving. Include streetcars in an upcoming bond referendum.
Downtown/central grocery store
Pay re-location to tenants both residential and commercial.
Incentivize job creation in the center city and along transit corridors
Identify & reserve spaces for transit stops with architecturally pleasing structures which can be used by our existing rubber tire trolley now. From there, thoughts about higher density development will emerge. Having these structures in place will establish concreteness in the transit line plans.
Keep in mind that people must live there and make it an attractive living area first.
THINK: low lighting, quiet, fresh air, small town feel.
It's too easy to rezone from agricultural to other uses. I assume this is becaus of politics and financial incentatives. I personally feel Forsyth County is for sale.
Light rail is interesting, I've seen it used in Denver and I think successfully. Don't forget we use to have streetcars, but also need to understand why that went away. Whether rail or bus, system needs to be very reliable, easy, and safe. We are very comfortable using our cars and don't want to give them up. So you have to concider a good, safe system of roads and parking areas. As we've also seen, major roads connect and divide areas of the City, so good bridges that allow for safe bicycle and pedestrian travel are also necessary. The County is going to develope, so good long range identification of how "we" want it to is what TOD is about. What are your guidelines and priorities. If we put in a transportation system and the utilites, infrastructure, we should be willing to also allow multilevel office and residential buildings of at least 5, and probably more to help justify the cost as well as conserve the open land we have.
Change zoning so that apartments can be placed above strip malls. This would save space and reduce driving trips for a lot of people.
incorporate the "fix it first" idea by prohibiting new outer rings of growth in green fields (sprawl) and spending dollars on the inner zones of the city by concentrating on brown field development.
Create incentives for development which is in designated, higher density centers, as opposed to spread out development which adds to sprawl. Sprawl costs in infrastructure (utilities, schools, water and sewer) should be recognized, while the cost savings (in air quality, energy savings,eg.) of promoting transit, should be factored into the cost of development.
The first thing a sensible approach demands is a study that determines the feasibility of the project. When looking at the current mass transit project it is a profound failure and the idea of pushing people to live where you want them rather than where they want to live is not the logical approach to development. You are after all instituting a UN project which has a determined history of failure and imposing it on top of a series of local failures in managing the city of Winston-Salem. The problem with ignorant pursuit of unsustainable projects is that those in pursuit seldom manage to see the ignorance.
Planners should look further into the future. We should never have issues like the one with the Davis garage which could have been avoided if our leaders had focused on downtown instead of sprawl, which costs more in the long run. The main focus should be to re-develop downtown so that folks in the city, including east W-S, can walk to work. This will go a long way towards setting the right example.
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