WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A proposal to put streetcars on the abandoned train line beside the Long Branch Trail is getting some traction.

  • DOT owns the line
  • Could possibly be extended to the Coliseum and Wake Forest University
  • City Council to consider request for $50,000 in funding a study for the proposal

"I think it's a great method of transportation for the area and it really would alleviate a lot of the parking issues," said Joanie Beck, who was walking along the trail with some friends.

Others have questions.

"I question whether it would be cost effective for the city, where it's actually going to go, and whether the patrons would have to pay," said resident Barbara Gamberini.

The city and the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, that it passes through, are hoping to answer some of those with a feasibilty study.

"[It's] to check out the bridges and trestles as well as the quality ot the line, and give us an estimate for extending it from where it stops now," said Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines.

The DOT owns the right of way on the line the runs from Winston-Salem to 27th Street. Walkways and stairs already run along the line at points in the Innovation Quarter and access it.

"Streetcars are certainly people movers so linking up Winston-Salem State, the Research Park, up to Whitaker Park, which is a major employment center, and Wake Forest University, seems to make a lot of good sense," said Joines.

A prime motivation for this project is that it could spark future development along the streetcar corridor.

"In Portland they put their first streetcar line in, the last numbers I saw there had been something over a $1.5 billion of development that had occurred along that line," said Joines.

Inventor Thomas Edison was involved in the city's electric streetcar system, that operated from the 1800's into the 1900's.

Supporters see that extending the line with streetcar service could also provide transportation to events at the coliseum and fairgrounds.

“On the weekends, children and parents, schools, field trips, I think it would be great,” said Elizabeth Weiler.

Monday, Winston-Salem' s City Council is scheduled to consider approving $50,000 to pay a part of the study for the streetcar plan.

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