One of the biggest fables foisted on the people of Greensboro is the Downtown Greenway, which has now been in development for over 15 years and so far less than a mile of the four-mile Greenway is open.
A tweet went out from the Downtown Greenway this week that reads: “Walk. Ride. Explore. Connect. The Downtown Greenway is bridging neighborhoods with a great urban trail. You can connect with old friends & make new ones.”
That is simply not true. What it should say is that someday in the future you will be able to walk, ride, explore and connect. And that some day the Downtown Greenway will bridge neighborhoods. It’s not doing it now. The two portions of the Greenway that are open aren’t even connected.
And the Greenway, despite what you read elsewhere, will not be completed anytime in the near or perhaps the foreseeable future.
A key portion of the Greenway will be built along the Atlantic & Yadkin railroad tracks. The Atlantic & Yadkin still owns those tracks, although the tracks are no longer used. The Greenway can’t be built until the tracks are abandoned, the city takes possession, somebody removes the railroad tracks and builds the Greenway.
Nobody knows how long that might take. When I asked about a possible timetable for the tracks being abandoned and the city taking possession, I was told there is no timetable. That portion has not been designed and the city hasn’t yet decided how the trail will cross West Market Street. It could be done with a pedestrian bridge, or simply a crosswalk.
When all the portions of the trail now in the design or construction phase are finally completed, what the city will have is not a loop, but a C with about a mile of the four-mile trail missing because it runs along the railroad tracks.
The Downtown Greenway won’t be completed any time soon and for the promoters to imply that it is currently open is misleading.
The Participatory Budgeting kickoff and open house is being held at the Central Library on Thursday, March 30 from 6:30 to 8:30. Here is a portion of the press release, “PB volunteers will go door-to-door in East Greensboro to help educate residents about the process and invite them to the March 30 PB Kickoff and Open House …”
The question is, why are only people in east Greensboro getting the special in-person invitation to this citywide event? Every taxpayer in Greensboro contributes to the $500,000 used to fund participatory budgeting and each City Council district gets $100,000 to spend, but evidently the people in east Greensboro are given preferential treatment.
District 5 Councilmember Tony Wilkins asked why people in the district he represents weren’t getting special in-person invitations, and the explanation he received makes no more sense than the special invites. Wilkins was told that there is an event in each district and before the event in District 5 the Participatory Budgeting staff would go door to door in District 5.
But that doesn’t answer the question of why the Participatory Budgeting staff is going door to door only in east Greensboro for a citywide event.