New greenway in Winston-Salem will give walkers and bikers more options

Workmen use an excavator to work on a culvert to carry the new Little Creek greenway across the creek near Hanes Mall Blvd. in Winston-Salem, N.C., Thursday, June 12, 2014. (David Rolfe/Journal)

Workmen use an excavator to work on a culvert to carry the new Little Creek greenway across the creek near Hanes Mall Blvd. in Winston-Salem, N.C., Thursday, June 12, 2014. (David Rolfe/Journal)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — A new greenway under construction off Hanes Mall Boulevard may be ready by the end of summer, though city officials caution that it all depends on how much rain falls, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

The greenway will run from Creekshire Way on the north end toward Atwood Road on the south, with a crossing of Little Creek on a side path that will make it easy for people in Atwood Acres to get to Little Creek Park.

All told, officials say the greenway will create about three-quarters of a mile of paved greenway for bikers and pedestrians to use. No timetable has been set for a future extension, but eventually the greenway will be extended south to Somerset Drive.

“This is the closest to completion among new greenway projects,” said Alan Temple, project engineer in the city engineering division. “It should be done by the end of summer. It was supposed to be done earlier but we had a wet winter.”

Creekshire Way is the road that runs parallel to Hanes Mall Boulevard through the Shoppes on Little Creek development, which includes retail businesses and residential apartments under construction. There’s a hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn, which rises near the spot where people who are on Creekshire will be able to get to the greenway.

Most of the greenway will run on the east side of Little Creek, with a side path to Hondo Drive about halfway down to the greenway’s southern end.

“I have been talking with folks in that area about the prospect of a Little Creek greenway for over 10 years, said Dan Besse, a member of the Winston-Salem City Council. The neighborhoods through which the greenway will pass are in Besse’s Southwest Ward.

“People in the northern area of Atwood Acres have been very interested because it would give their kids a direct, safe walking route to Little Creek Park and recreation center,” Besse said.

Once people get to Little Creek Park they can add to their walking or riding distance by making a loop around the park perimeter trail. Besse said that the greenway would make all sorts of connections possible: People in Salem Woods, to the west of Little Creek and south of the park, could use the greenway to get to the shops on Creekshire Way, or get their exercise walking south to the end and back to the crossing.

Working the check-in desk at the Hilton Garden Inn, Michelle Tuttle and Lisa Pors said travelers often come in asking for places to walk. They might get sent to Bolton Park now, Tuttle said, and some folks just go out on the sidewalk along Hanes Mall Boulevard. The women said they might take advantage of the new greenway on their breaks once it is finished.

Steven McComick, on a business trip from New Brunswick, said that it would be nice to have a greenway to walk on after a day of traveling.

“I’m in the habit of walking in the evenings,” he said.

Temple said that Smith-Rowe of Mount Airy is building the greenway at a cost of $970,000. The city is paying 20 percent of the cost and federal grants are paying 80 percent.

The city is hoping to build more greenways in the future at a lower cost, said Greg Turner, assistant city manager. Unless the city get an exception, greenways have to be built to road-construction standards, even though they typically carry nothing heavier than a bike, he said.

Turner said that almost a third could be cut from the cost of greenway construction with different standards.

At present, the southward extension of Little Creek greenway is not part of the city’s proposed bond issue this fall, which includes money for sidewalks, greenways and road work.

But Besse said he hopes that a portion of the bond proceeds designated to provide matching money for grants could go to the project.

“It is a good amenity to have around,” Besse said. “People who are out walking for exercise are good folks to have around. They are safe neighbors.”

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