by Sam Hieb
Wake Forest Innovation Quarter–Winston-Salem’s downtown technology park—is pushing for a $100,000 study to determine the feasibility of a $35-$40 million streetcar line that would run between Wake forest University and Winston-Salem State University.
The Innovation Quarter is asking the city to chip in $50,000 toward the study, which would be conducted by a Canadian engineering and professional service company. As you can probably imagine, there are many questions
Word of the possibility of a streetcar is already filtering through the households on 27th Street, one of the residential streets that is seen as a possible route for the streetcar to share with existing traffic.
People who live there have questions, too.
“It might help people get to where they want to go,” said Angela Welch, who lives in the 500 block of East 27th Street. “I don’t know about coming through here — we have kids.”
Good news here –if there is any– is the $34-$40 million price is less than the $179 million price tag for the proposed streetcar line running from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to WSSU, passing through downtown and past BB&T Ballpark and the Innovation Quarter along the way:
That project started out with an estimated cost of nearly $60 million, and some city council members last week sounded skeptical about whether the latest plan could really come in at the cited estimate.
“Obviously we need to look at different funding scenarios,” Paul said, noting that federal money could flow through the state or the city as part of the process. The state could make a direct investment in the line if it scored high enough on the state’s data-driven process for setting transportation priorities.
So what is it with cities and streetcars? Surelt it can’t be as simple as ‘they’ve got one, so we need one.’ but never assume. The best thing Winston-Salem officials can do is read up on other cities’ streetcar issues, via Antiplanner. First up–none other than Washington D.C., which is thinking about scrapping its streetcars after only two years. Next up–Cincinnati, where its streetcars have been deemed ‘catastrophic failures.’