Safety, mobility concerns arise at meeting about new bus routes

Safety, mobility concerns arise at meeting about new bus routes
May 21
00:00 2015

In photo above Tina Carson-Wilkins, WSTA marketing director, speaks during a presentation of bus route changes.(Photo by Todd Luck)

Proposed changes to bus routes in East Winston were among several topics at the East Ward town hall meeting held Thursday, May 14, at New Jerusalem Baptist Church.

The town hall was one regularly held by City Council Member Derwin Montgomery to keep his East Ward constituents informed. Attendees heard from representatives from various city departments, including the Winston-Salem Transit Authority.

Tina Carson-Wilkins, WSTA marketing director, made a presentation on the 26 new proposed bus routes. She explained that many of the current routes go back decades, with various small changes to them made over time. She said the new routes, designed to be more direct and efficient, where created using information from surveys of WSTA passengers. The routes were created within the WSTA’s current budget, using similar amounts of miles and man hours.

She said East Winston, like the rest of the city, will see changes to its service.

“We’re going to add a circulator, which is going to be solely for the East Winston community,” she said. “We’re going to give you the opportunity to connect more because we’re going to add more transfer points so instead of everybody having to come downtown, you’ll be able to go to Sturmer Park to transfer, perhaps to the Department of Social Services, where so many services are needed.”

She also listed a planned transfer point at the old Union Station, which the City is planning to transform into a transportation hub. Night routes will increase from seven routes to 12. Saturday routes will be reduced from 18 to 13, but now all routes will run both day and night. She said the new route numbers will stay the same whether that route is ridden during the day, night or weekend.

She went over several proposed routes for the East Winston community.

The new circulator, which is proposed Route 13, combines parts of the current Routes 1 and 2, providing access to places like LaDeara Crest, Cleveland Avenue Homes, Fourteenth Street Community Center, Winston-Salem Preparatory Academy, Rupert Bell Community Center and the Malloy Jordan East Winston Heritage Center. It will run day and night during weekdays and also on Saturday and Sunday.

Proposed Route 7, which combines the current routes 10 and 17, will go from the Department of Social Services down Patterson Avenue, turn on University Parkway and end on Hanes Mill Road, providing access to Northside Shopping Center, Forsyth Tech Transportation Technology Center, Cook’s Flea Market, Sam’s Club and Walmart.

Route 16, a new version of Route 1 that will run along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, New Walkertown and Carver School Road, and go by Burger King, CVS, the Boys and Girls Club International Corps, Carl Russell Sr. Community Center, Jetway Shopping Center, Carver High School and the Forsyth Tech Mazie Woodruff Campus. It will connect to Route 18, a new route that will travel the length of Liberty Street out to Lansing Drive.

Also, proposed Route 23, a combination of current Routes 3, 14 and 26, will go by Old Salem, Happy Hill Gardens, Gateway YWCA and Stoney Glen.

Attendee Sarah Davis inquired about 10th Street, which is currently serviced by Route 1. She was told the new routes won’t go through that same street, requiring longer walks to bus stops by passengers.
Davis had concerns about people in her community with disabilities, such as visual impairment or those using a wheelchair, having a longer trek to get to a bus.

(When reached for comment this week, WSTA Director Art Barnes said the new routes will be catered to best serve the majority of passengers. Some will end up farther away from a bus route, while others will be closer. He said Trans-AID, a WSTA service that lets handicap passengers arrange a direct ride from their home to a destination, is an option for some passengers with disabilities who have difficulty getting to a bus.)

Davis also had concerns about the safety of female passengers having to walk longer distances at night.
“Being a woman in this day and age it’s not safe to be walking three blocks,” she said.

Attendee Keshawn Mosley asked whether there were plans to expand Sunday hours. There currently aren’t, he was told. Mosley works at packaging company Sunoco, which will continue to have bus service in the proposed routes. He said more than half of the workers at his location rely on the WSTA for transportation, so the company plans its hours around bus ride availability.

Mosley used the bus system until he got his own vehicle recently. He said he felt once riders got used to the new routes, they’ll enjoy things like the increased transfer points and the new East Winston circulator. He felt the more numerous, shorter night routes are especially needed.

“If you go from the TC (Transportation Center) to the end of the lines, it’s almost like an hour and 15, hour and 20 minutes,” he said. “That’s going to be phenomenal for those night workers.”

The WSTA is holding many other comment meetings on the new proposed routes:

May 21, 4-7 p.m. – Carl Russell Community Center, Carver School Road, 27105
May 22, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. – International Boys & Girls Club @ 2850 New Walkertown Road, 27105
May 26, 4-7 p,m. – Sprague Street Community Center @ 1350 E. Sprague Street, 27107
May 27, 3-6 p.m. – MLK Community Center @ 2001 Pittsburg Avenue, 27101
May 28, 10 a.m.-noon – Hanes Hosiery Community Center @ 501 Reynolds Boulevard, 27105
May 29, 1-4 p.m. – Alders Point @ 590 Mock Street, 27127
June 1, 5-7 p.m. – WR Anderson Community Center @ 2450 Reynolds Park Road, 27107
June 2 , 5-7 p.m. – 14th Street Community Center @ 2020 E. 14th Street 27101
June 3, 10-noon and 3-5 p.m.– Forsyth Tech West Campus @1300 Bolton Street, 27103
June 4 , 11 a.m.-3 p.m. – Gateway YWCA @ 1300 South Main Street, 27127
June 5, 2-6 p.m. – Reynolda Branch Library @ 2839 Fairlawn Drive, 27106
June 8, Noon-4 p.m. – Clark Campbell Transportation Center @ 100 West Fifth Street, 27101

The proposed routes can also be viewed by going to and clicking on “Proposed Route Changes.”

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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