Home Opinion Opinion 2 Why Salem Should Be More Like Downtown Roanoke

Opinion 2 Why Salem Should Be More Like Downtown Roanoke

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by Edgard Lacayo

I enjoy biking around Salem during the warmer months of the school year. Usually when I bike, I go through the back roads and side streets to avoid Main Street. It’s simply too busy to ride a bike down Main Street safely and the bike lanes that do exist are just painted on the pavement. Overall, cycling in Salem is not a very enjoyable experience due to how dangerous it can be. There are also little or no bike racks at stores. If I want to go to CVS for example, I have to lock my bike on a street sign. One time I was biking and decided to stop at the Wells Fargo on Main Street and ended up taking the bicycle into the bank with me because there was nowhere to safely lock it. Downtown Salem is a very nice area and I believe that it really gets overlooked by most Roanoke College students simply because most people drive to where they need to go.  

I think that closing Main Street to cars or at least limiting the speed and traffic that can go through would make Salem much livelier and more attractive to all sorts of people. Limiting cars on Mainstreet wouldn’t mean banning all cars, it would simply mean giving more space to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport, things that are not often considered in the US unlike in places like Europe or Asia. Simply widening sidewalks, or creating a dedicated public transport or bike lanes would help a lot.  

We don’t even have to go that far to see what such a thing would look like. Downtown Roanoke is a pedestrian area. Even though Roanoke is not a big city like New York it still feels like it because there’s people out and about at all times of day. During the day and night downtown Roanoke is a much more interesting and exciting place to be simply because you can be around other people and feel like you’re in a big city. I’d like to imagine a Salem that looks like that. A small town that feels like a small town where people are always out and about, where you can sit outside and see other people and not just cars and trucks.