From little acorns do mighty oaks grow. That’s a good proverb to keep in mind as our local greenway trail system flourishes, little by little, into something extensive and mighty.
A new 1.25 mile addition to Winston-Salem’s greenway system, scheduled to be built over the next year or so, is the first official segment of the Piedmont Regional Greenway — recently rebranded as Piedmont Greenway — which is expected to eventually connect Winston-Salem and Greensboro through Kernersville, local officials told the Journal’s Wesley Young last week.
The new segment being added next year will cross under Business 40 just south of East Forsyth High School, extending the Salem Lake Trail to Hastings Hill Road in Kernersville.
“Right behind East Forsyth High School is a large culvert that goes underneath the highway,” city engineer Robert Prestwood told the Journal. “We will build a boardwalk in one of the culvert barrels so that the water flows under it.”
A new mile and some will be a welcome addition, especially as it takes the Salem Lake Trail, popular with cyclists, runners and strollers, beyond its Linville Road border.
The Winston-Salem City Council has already approved the purchase of temporary and permanent easements for the greenway. It will take around nine to 12 months to get the project ready to put out to bid, Prestwood told the Journal. Construction would start soon after the contract is awarded.
Altogether, Winston-Salem has over 25 miles of greenway trails that are becoming more connected over time — and extending their reach farther. Additions over the last couple of years have connected the system via the Long Branch Trail to the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter and the Peachtree Greenway to Quarry Park. Segments planned for the near future include a widened walkway connecting Peters Creek Parkway via Link Road and Lockland Avenue to Silas Creek Parkway, thus the trail behind Marketplace Mall into Washington Park; and a multiuse path that will run alongside the new Business 40, eventually stretching from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to Liberty Street and the Strollway downtown.
Additions keep the trails fresh for frequent users.
Some city bond money goes toward greenway projects, but city officials have wisely tapped into state and federal money, also. Federal transportation money will pay for 80% of the cost of the new segment into Kernersville, Prestwood told the Journal.
The Piedmont Greenway, a 19-mile trail that would link Winston-Salem to Greensboro, is being developed through a partnership between local governments and the nonprofit Piedmont Land Conservancy. While officials are supportive, there are still a great many details to work out before it can be called a done deal.
Let’s hope it succeeds. It would open a whole new vista for residents and visitors who use the trails to get into the outdoors.
Our greenway trails system is a treasure; it offers a variety of features that include water, foliage, scenic views and wildlife. It’s good for exercise, contemplation and relaxation. But it has to be nurtured, it has to grow, to continue to be of benefit. It deserves our support.
If all this is not enough, the Piedmont Greenway is likely to eventually be an integral part of the long-visualized Mountains-to-Sea Trail connecting the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks, which would increase tourism and commerce in our area as well as recreation.
How’s that for mighty?