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Winston-Salem's Tallest Buildings and Skyscrapers
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:54 pm 
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What if Winston-Salem did something innovative, instead of just copying everyone else? Could Wake Forest University and the Innovation Quarter get federal research funding and money from passenger train manufacturing companies to build this if Wake Forest University's Engineering School works on an alternative fuel hybrid streetcar for the proposed North-South Streetcar? It's a project the university could make money on, it could provide a "free" streetcar system, it could become an innovative attraction people talk about around the world, It may attract some of the nation's top rail engineering professors to the university, and it becomes a 'real world' project Wake Forest Engineering students can work on. I do believe people will travel here to learn about it and ride it! If Winston-Salem is a City of Innovation, then it should build its streetcar as an innovative research project, like this! It's likely the best way to move this project forward and I could see Wake Forest easily finding the federal research dollars and corporate research funding to build it without any City or County money involved! It would also provide the passenger rail train to generate development in the Innovation Quarter and replace the university shuttles. It may even be possible to partner with other wealthy research universities to help pay for Winston-Salem's streetcar and provide more brilliant minds to design it. This would become a big part of an Innovation Quarter tour and would give Winston-Salem a big piece of innovative infrastructure, to be proud of, that could attract other cities to visit and could create jobs here, possibly through passenger rail manufacturing at Whitaker Park?

Look at this solar-powered rail system, as an example of 'innovative' passenger rail research:
[youtube]6Y4QGFte3T8[/youtube]

Don't give up! This is an opportunity to do something even better! How can we make this streetcar an innovative research project attractive for federal research funding and private industry dollars? Something Wake Forest University could gain patents for and make money on, while bringing jobs here! This is what an innovative university & city would do.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2021 11:13 pm 
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It was interesting to see Winston-Salem City Council appear to be unanimous in support of making a streetcar and/or the North-South Rail Line in the Innovation Quarter happen in the next four years. And with a Secretary of Transportation that wants to work directly with communities, instead of states, this could be interesting. I think it was Councilwoman Adams that said Winston-Salem is the only large city in the state without any passenger rail? I don't think I've ever seen the City appear this aggressive in making rail transit happen?


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2021 11:32 pm 
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Good! We've only been yamering about it for the past eight years on this forum.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2021 7:06 pm 
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We'll have to find a new pipe dream if this happens.


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PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2022 11:58 pm 
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It's time to start thinking about the streetcar line between Wake Forest University and Winston-Salem State University. The line would also have a stop at this football stadium...



Could you image if visitors could park at their downtown hotel and just walk to a station behind the S.J. Nissen Building and ride a train to the football or basketball venues? Hotels along the route could advertise this or offer packages that include train fare. Think about college students and thousands of residents along the route, too. I am talking about fewer cars to deal with at intersections and entering/leaving the parking lots. Even if you don't use it, it would help reduce the traffic both you and the City/police have to deal with and how long you are waiting in your car. If just 5% of people going to the event use rail, that is possibly hundreds of cars you're not dealing with in traffic and parking. It could take pressure off ride sharing services, too! Having dedicated right-of-way is very important and this line would have a large part of its route with dedicated ROW. It needs to be planned to move people very quickly in-and-out of big events with heavy traffic in downtown, the fairgrounds, annex, and the sports complex. If the route follows a road, it shouldn't share a car lane. It needs to have its own streetcar-only or transit-only lane along the side or sides. Maybe a no block box where it does have to cross a street?

When I go to concerts, sports, and events here in Atlanta, I don't drive. I park and ride the train. It's cheaper to park and ride than it is to find parking near the event and it's much easier to get in and get out. You can laugh at the people stuck in traffic from your moving train. I remember once just sitting in the car listening to music with the windows down for over an hour, as I waited for traffic to move while leaving an event here in the Atlanta area. That is when you learn the importance of rail transit at big events.

As Winston-Salem thinks about hosting big events, the area also needs to work on this rail line. It needs to be a priority, with maybe the local end of the funding being split among Winston-Salem, Forsyth County, and Wake Forest. I am guessing this would replace Wake Forest's shuttle from Wake Downtown to campus and that would provide good ridership numbers? I know a few council members really want this rail line. This could be what really pushes that project forward and gives it a strong reason for support? Really, just reducing the amount of everyday traffic on the streets should also be up there, along with being able to handle massive crowds for big events and to win those events more consistently.

Of course I think Winston-Salem has this event because Matt Brown's contract to book events for these facilities is up for renewal, soon? There are students and many residents who don't know this city once attracted many events and concerts before the coliseum was sold and Wake Forest entered that bad contract with Matt Brown and that city to the east. I noticed their city's name was all-over the ticket information. Yes, I actually considered going, but when you have a kid it's not easy to travel.

If you want to know how serious this rail line project is: They actually have maps now, showing where the stops would be and showing it would have double tracking along much of the line. This would have a rail transit line and a bike and walking path. The great news: Some of what needs to be built for the streetcar line can be constructed as part of the bike and walking path. Like the stairs and ramps to the stations, electrical infrastructure along the path, retaining walls, and more. Yes, easier to get rails-to-trails funding could be used to build part of the streetcar line and bring-down the cost of the project!


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2022 1:27 am 
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I hope they get this moving quickly. Like Possum said, decades of talk and no action! It's time to put up or shut up!

As a side note, I wonder how many people left this event with a really bad taste in their mouth about the city. Consumer studies are very clear:people who "dislike" something tell substantially more people about their experience than people on the other end of the spectrum who "like" something.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2022 7:15 am 
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It was certainly a black eye for the city. Traffic on 40 and 52 is understandable, but the parking situation is inexcusable. My guess is that the labor shortage caused issues for this event, and the event was both understaffed and undertrained in key positions. From what I’ve heard, there were arguments in lots between staff members about where to allow people to park, holding up the lines while they argued. Side note - I attended the Wake/Duke football game last season, which was a sellout. It took 20 minutes to get from my house (3-4 miles away) to a spot in the parking lot an hour before kickoff. I’m not sure who was in charge of handling parking for this event, but it isn’t consistent with my experience at past events, with smaller but still very large crowds.

Rail is great, but what is the timeframe for a project like that? We need a workable solution for the next event, which is likely to be in 1-2 years (following the GNR and Billy Joel timeline, adjusting for COVID).


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2022 8:55 am 
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I'm talking about using this incident to build support for a long-term solution. I think much of the interest in building these rail projects, nationally, is for economic development, though. They are always routed through economic development projects, like Whitaker Park and Innovation Quarter for this project.

By the time the next concert is scheduled, most will have forgotten about it and those in the industry will assume it was due to the issues of that time (labor shortage, weather, pandemic, etc.). It can be a benefit if it's used as a call-to-action for something transformative and rail transit could make the venue even more attractive for big events. Venues are often ranked by how easy it is to move people in-and-out. When the Joel first opened, it was highly ranked in that category. Imagine those same Wake Forest and fairgrounds venues accessible by multiple modes! Winston-Salem sometimes just focuses on things like this as a negative and doesn't even attempt to use it to make something happen and show those involved that the City is doing something (long-term solution) about the problems.

My wife will often look at the reviews of things, from appliances to restaurants, and I often remind her that when people have a great experience, they usually don't share it. However, when they have a bad experience, people are looking for multiple ways to complain "visibly" and show others how bad the experience was. I'm guessing +90% of the people there had an awesome experience and it appears as if most people said it was the best concert they have ever attended! Even comments that Sir Paul's voice was rested from the COVID-19 break in touring and sounded better than it did at pre-COVID-19 shows! If you attend enough concerts, you know to arrive VERY early, expect a big crowd for an international superstar in a football stadium, and be aware of weather issues for summer outdoor events.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2022 10:24 am 
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The gates for the 8PM McCartney show opened at 3PM.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2022 11:36 am 
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The bottom line concerning the attendees with complaints that the news outlets sniffed out to interview: you cannot expect the same time and travel to a destination where there are say, 30-50,000 other people involved. Sure, the city, university, police, or privately hired security could have possibly done differently, but for all involved it’s called, plan ahead! That goes for the attendees as well.


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2022 1:30 pm 
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The Possum wrote:
The gates for the 8PM McCartney show opened at 3PM.


Yep. I got there at 2:50 and had no problem. :)


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2022 2:48 pm 
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I was in the parking lot before 6:00. Probably waited in about 15 minutes of traffic. The people that are complaining are the same people that complain about having to park in a parking deck. They expect to just role up to a joint and park at their convenience.
If you make an investment where you pay hundreds of dollars you make sure you'll be able to attend. What if there was an accident on 1-40 that backed up traffic in G'boro for an hour. Who do you blame then?

Clemson University hosts +100K people for a handful of Saturdays a year. The population of that town is 35k when students are in town. The infrastructure is not there. The folks that go to games on Saturday know better than to just roll in an hour before the games.

Traffic was not an issue for most people that attended the event (if you had any sense). I probably received 3 emails stating/warning for attendees to arrive early and parking gates open at 3. They did delay the concert by 45 minutes because they did not open the stadium up because of potential lighting. God surely is a Beatles fan as he turned a 90 degree day into a cool beautiful evening. It was a wonderful experience!


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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2022 11:44 pm 
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When talking with someone who worked there about the streetcar idea, I was told this small football stadium, designed to seat 31,500, was actually seating around 50,000 to 60,000 people for this show. Imagine if almost a quarter of the city's population decided to go to this stadium around the same time! The numbers police, security, and event workers were likely provided at the start of the day were no where near what the final numbers became at the start of the show, as they continued to sell tickets and add seating hours before the show. Was the facility even designed to move this many people through the gates and concourse? Learning this, I can see the problem. I was also told only one of the roads around this facility was designed to handle any real traffic and this facility is too far from the main limited-access highways (think Interstate-style highways). Considering both the coliseum and football field were designed to hold a combined 47,000 people, if they have enough parking to both be sold-out at the same time, that is still below the crowd levels seen at the event. If they have shared parking and never thought they needed enough parking for both facilities to be sold-out on the same day, then... wow!

If they want to host another show of this size or expand that football stadium in the future, they will have to look at the North-South Streetcar project first and design it for 10 minute headways. The person I spoke to said that if Wake Forest football grows enough to need a larger stadium, they can't expand that facility. It would have to be a new stadium in a location next to major highways. :eek:

And yes, out-of-towners taking the most familiar route or what appears to be the simplest route and not taking any recommended shortcuts will always be a problem.

That conversation was interesting enough to create its own thread for. I do feel Councilwoman Adams should use this nationally embarrassing incident to push harder for the North-South Streetcar Project between Wake Forest and WSSU.


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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2022 12:16 am 
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Incredible - obviously W-S and Wake Forest needed to hire some professional traffic wranglers. Oh wait, this is Greensboro’s fault not W-S’s since the Greensboro behemoth entertainment machine is responsible. Apparently a magnificent concert but not for those who did not get in. It seems tickets weren’t really oversold just 20,000 extra folk showed up. What a black eye for the city. I reckon Greensboro will think twice in future.

Still, a great event - too bad about the admitted lack of infrastructure.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2023 6:34 pm 
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Omaha is getting ready to break ground on their new streetcar line. Warren Buffett is not amused…

https://www.nytimes.com/2023/01/21/us/o ... tcars.html

I remain nostalgic for surface rail. My neighborhood had one that connected to central subway. But I’m pretty sure that the physical rails are obsolete. My best guess is that the same thing can be accomplished with a fleet of self-driving pods that circulate on a fixed grid. Avoiding all the usual self-driving issues of lane-changing and route optimization, the only issue will be collision avoidance. Something like a wire inlaid along route or smart markers will reinforce adherence to the route. The huge benefit is scalability and the massive infrastructure up-front cost would be much reduced. Not to mention personnel costs.

We could be a perfect test city for something like that and could even use a closed right of way like the line from the IQ to Wake. If it weren’t too far in the planning process, I’d suggest it as part of the “multi-use path” along Salem Parkway.

Honestly, let’s not lay steel in the ground unless there’s going to be enough weight in the cars and enough of them to make sense!


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