Winston-Salem, NC — Benefits Projected
A news analysis by Wesley Young of the Winston-Salem Journal says building a streetcar line would have economic development and employment benefits for the city in northwest North Carolina. HDR consulting outlined a possible system in late June, featuring a four-mile double track system costing $179 million with eight streetcars providing 10 minute headways during rush hours with annual operating costs of $4.3 million. Winston-Salem had a first generation streetcar system and in its final years it was operated by Southern Public Utilities and Duke Power.
The planned route would extend from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center through the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter research park being built in old tobacco buildings to the intersection of Fifth Street and Martin Luther King Drive. The estimated travel time would be 13 minutes.
Planners would like to see operations begin in 2017 if funding and political support can be secured soon. Downtown development could double the population their from 20,000 to 40,000.
Project leaders held a public meeting on June 27 to secure input on the route and the choice of streetcars as the favored mode. Engineering firm HDR presented anticipated benefits based on a study they conducted.
The justification for the system would be anticipated economic development along the downtown route.