No Triad city considered pedestrian friendly

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – None of the major Triad cities scored favorably in a survey of the country’s most pedestrian-friendly cities.

Burlington, Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem are each considered car dependent, according to WalkScore.com.

The site ranks cities out of 100 points and considers factors such as the number of sidewalks and lit crosswalks. A score of 50 or above is considered at least somewhat walkable, whereas a score below 50 is considered car dependent.

Burlington received the highest score with a 40, and Greensboro was close behind with a 39. High Point was given a score of 34, and Winston-Salem brought up the rear at 32.

Only 40 percent of Winston-Salem’s streets have sidewalks, and on average more than one pedestrian is hit by a car every single week in the city. There were 76 pedestrian-involved wrecks last year as opposed to 72 so far this year.

That’s why Winston-Salem started revamping intersections like Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. They added things like crossing signals, more obvious crosswalks and refuge islands.

“If we continue to make these small improvements for years, we will eventually have a very walkable community,” said Matthew Burczyk with the City of Winston-Salem.

The city is considering pedestrian-friendly improvements and bike lanes even with tight budgets.

“Every project that comes up, we will look at it and see what options there are for pedestrian improvements and try to make them then,” Burczyk said.

These improvements also will be considered if a street project comes in under budget, Burczyk said.

Pedestrian improvements are planned on Fourth Street and Fifth Street. City officials are aware a section of Silas Creek Parkway is not pedestrian-friendly, but there are neither plans nor money for upgrades.

North Carolina cities considered the most walkable include Boone, Chapel Hill and Asheville.