New bike trail in downtown Winston-Salem

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- In Winston-Salem's Innovation Quarter, bicycle repair shop owner Greg Waddell is seeing the city's bike scene change gears.

"We got more people using our greenways for recreation," Waddell said. "They are using Salem Lake. We are seeing a rise in people biking from their neighborhoods to downtown to work."

Matthew Burczyk is the transportation project planner for the City of Winston-Salem. He believes the new Long Branch Trail will make biking or walking to downtown a lot easier.

"Between the Salem Creek Greenway, Waughtown and the Brushy Fork Greenway, there's good connectivity for recreation," Burczyk said. "People can go on a long run or bike without having to be on the streets."

While the one and a half mile long Long Branch Trail is not officially open, people are using it to connect to other parts of the city. Charlotte Smith is looking forward to her bike ride from Salem Lake to the Innovation Quarter.

"You see the pretty lake, you go along the greenway and come into downtown. It's a nice mix of surroundings," Smith said.

Burczyk hopes the ease of using the Long Branch Trail will persuade more people to give biking a try.

"People who haven't considered it before, we are targeting them to try to change some of their trip and travel behavior and give them safe options for biking and walking," Burczyk said.

Plus, Smith believes the Long Branch Trail will be a focal point for the Innovation Quarter.

"I think it brings so much popularity and publicity to Winston-Salem. I am talking about it," Smith said.

The Long Branch Trail follows an old rail line. In some locations, the railroad track is still visible. When the trail officially opens this summer, it will run from North Martin Luther King Junior Drive, through the Innovation Quarter and connect to the Salem Creek Greenway.