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It’s been a strange New Year so far. I know for us here at YES! Weekly we’ve been dealing with the slow start to 2015 – perhaps you might have noticed we cut down our issue a few pages and we’ve been missing some regular contributions to our publication. With that said, we are back to regularly scheduled programming with our great publication.

But how are you, Triad? Has the first three weeks of 2015 lived up to your expectations? Have you held on to those resolutions you made? Are you going to the gym consistently? Are you still not smoking? Are you eating healthier? It’s OK if you have already failed at your resolutions, there’s probably a statistic out there that will tell you how all resolutions are failed within the first 8.41 days of a New Year, or you have most likely read a post on Facebook about how “Psychopaths and Murderers are Historically the Only People Who Follow Through With Resolutions.” That is not a headline I have seen, but you never know with the Internet.

Have you been out and about in downtown Winston-Salem lately, though? If you have, then you’ve probably noticed how it’s impossible to park anywhere close to where you want to go. This is incredibly awesome and terrible at the exact same time. On the one hand, it’s a pain in the ass to have to walk more than four blocks to your destination. (Alright, that’s a bit of an overstatement, it’s not that big of a deal.) Parking on the far side of Milton Rhodes Arts Center to go get a beer or a bite to eat on 4 th street is somewhat of a hassle, but it’s not that bad.

My favorite parking spot in the whole city was in a lit parking garage off of Cherry Street right before 3 rd Street, mainly because it was free if you were leaving after 7 p.m. But that has changed. Now, there’s a credit card machine at the exit, and whoever owns this used-to-be-gem is making a couple extra bucks. I can’t blame the owner of the garage for wanting to make money, but I’m a little bummed that my secret spot is now charging me.

And come to think of it, there’s no parking downtown after 6 p.m. that doesn’t cost a healthy chunk of college tuition, meters being the small exception, even though they only take quarters and the spots are usually filled with police cars.

The same applies to downtown Greensboro, except I don’t have a secret spot down there. I always end up parking over near where the train tracks merge with Elm and the bridges cover the streets and…whatever. It’s close enough.

It’s probably the best problem a city can have if there is no parking in its downtown area. This means that people are actually out and about downtown, most likely spending money at small, locally owned businesses. This means that people feel safe in their city, or at least safe enough to walk a few extra blocks so they can hang out with their friends, see some great art, or eat some great food. This also means that people think it’s worth it to leave the warmth and comfort of their homes to brave the sporadic freezing temperatures, all of which is worth it because so much has been done to revitalize the downtown areas of the Triad.

Since I live in Winston-Salem, most of my nightlife is spent roaming those streets. My weekends have been filled with flying our little drone around the city, getting an overhead view of what the Twin City looks like during the day and night. I make it over to Greensboro a few weekends each month, and I always end up appreciating what Greensboro has to offer by way of bars and food spots.

After reading about all the tragedies in the past few weeks (shootings, muggings, etc.) in downtown Greensboro, I thought I would possess some innate fear of walking to my car on a dark sidewalk, but it’s just not there. Having learned that the city is doing what it thinks is best with putting more security and law enforcement in the downtown area, I guess I’m just comfortable trusting the streets are safe.

In downtown Winston, though, I feel like I’m with likeminded people. I feel like the Winston-Salemites are embracing growth in downtown, much more so than Greensboro. (I heard that the city makes it very difficult to start a new business in its city limits, which seems counterproductive to growing a city.) But in Winston, growth is everywhere.

There’s a funny, firefighter training looking tower thing being built on the corner of Main and Cemetery Streets. What it is exactly we are unsure of, but we’ll be filling you in on that when we find out. There’s been loads of construction work on Trade Street right around 5 th across from the Millennium Center, and that hasn’t stopped pedestrian traffic from enjoying the art district.

Since I’m not a local – someone who was born and raised here – I don’t have the distinct knowledge of which city is better than the other. My friends in Greensboro would rather stay in town verses making the 22-minute drive down I-40 business to Winston, and my friends in Winston see no reason to venture to Greensboro. It’s sort of a bummer, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The thing is, getting out of your element is a great thing. Venturing to downtown Greensboro takes very little time, and the rewards always outweigh the drive. The businesses along South Elm Street have a waiting smile and pleasant conversation whenever I walk inside, as is the same for Trade Street in Winston.

What’s the hold up? Here’s a challenge: Venture down I-40 to the neighboring city and take a picture of you enjoying it. Send that picture into us, or Tweet it to us, or post it on Facebook and tag us in it, and we’ll pick a winner and give you a gift card to a restaurant. The only catch is, that gift card will be for a restaurant in that neighboring city.

Good luck finding parking. !