Emory forms transportation management association
with Clifton neighbors
Along with several other businesses and organizations located along Clifton
Road or near the University, Emory has formed a transportation management
association (TMA) to address the area's traffic and transit problems.
Emory, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Veterans Administration
Hospital (and the VA regional office, scheduled to move from its downtown
location in 1999), Wesley Woods, the American Cancer Society, Egleston Hospital,
Emory Clinic, Ben Franklin Academy, Sage Hill shopping center and representatives
from Emory Village all have made monetary commitments to join the TMA, one
of four in Atlanta selected to equally split more than $600,000 in federal
Congestion, Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds.
DeKalb County Commissioner Gale Walldorff first brought all the entitites
together this summer and encouraged them to form the association. The Atlanta
Regional Commission later informed the fledgling TMA of the availability
of the CMAQ funds and got things rolling. Since the money would be available
on an 80-20 percent matching basis, the TMA had to raise $40,000 by Jan.
1, 1998, to qualify. In a few short months, it has surpassed that goal by
about $8,000, and the Clifton Corridor TMA is now forming a board of directors
and incorporating itself as a nonprofit organization.
TMAs have been popping up across the country for nearly 20 years, usually
in congested business districts. Public and private organizations join together
to cooperatively tackle transporation and air-quality issues. One advantage
of such solidarity is TMAs give their members a unified voice with which
to address local government. Three other TMAs in Atlanta-serving the Cumberland,
central Perimeter and Buckhead areas-also qualified for the CMAQ funding.
Cheryle Crumley, Emory's director of alternative transporation, will
serve as interim director for the Clifton Corridor TMA until its board can
make a permanent appointment. In fact, Crumley said Emory will be the "champion"
of the TMA since the University is the single largest entity involved and
is already running many of the programs the TMA hopes to provide.
"Emory is prepared to take the ball and run with it," Crumley
said. "In a lot of ways we're patterning ourselves after one in California
with UCLA. Their TMA is called Westwood, and UCLA is their champion."
Crumley said the TMA at first will "piggy back" onto the alternative
transporation programs Emory is currently running, including carpools, vanpools,
MARTA subsidies and shuttle service. Other targets for first-year funding
include high-occupancy vehicle parking, educational materials, signage and
other programs. One of the first items on the agenda, Crumley said, could
be to survey each entity's employees on traffic and commuter options, as
Emory did with its employees a few years back.
One example of the cooperative nature of the TMA is expanded shuttle
service. Crumley said the members are discussing expansion of Emory's A
shuttle route, which currently runs from Wesley Woods down Clifton to Fishburne,
down to Pierce Drive, up to Asbury Circle, then to Clifton and back to Wesley
Woods. The route could be expanded to include Emory Village at the southern
end and Sage Hill shopping center to the north, and Wesley Woods has offered
one of its vans to offset the expanded route's extra time.
"This is the kind of leveraging which, if everyone works together,
we can do," Crumley said. "We've only made minor modifications
to an existing route at minimal cost. Emory benefits, the whole corridor
benefits. The two business entities which have made financial commitments
to the TMA now get more customers."
Another example would be a big increase in potential matches for carpools
and vanpools. "Emory's got 14,000 employees now," said Erick Gaither,
director of community services, "but think about another 7,000 or 8,000
employees in our database. While there might not be enough Emory employees
in a particular neighborhood, it's possible with the other entities that
we could get a vanpool together.
"Not to mention that there are 11,000 students who could benefit
from any program we start, in terms of shuttles or even carpools and vanpools."
As far as the future of the TMA beyond the $156,000 in federal funds
it will receive, Crumley said additional money may come from other sources.
It will have to, since the federal monies work on a reimbursement basis
and only expenses spent directly on reducing vehicular miles traveled (elimination
of single-occupant vehicles) qualify-administrative expenses do not count.
Even though several entities have pledged in-kind services to handle such
expenses as postage, office space and secretarial help, more money will
be needed should the TMA continue to grow.
But the Clifton Corridor TMA already is getting attention from DeKalb
County commissioners, MARTA, Georgia Power, the Georgia Department of Transportation
and offices of Rep. Cynthia McKinney and Sen. Paul Coverdell. "A lot
of people have a vested interest in this," Crumley said.
"If this brings any release from traffic, it will be interesting,"
said George Goldman, an Emory Village property owner. "I'm glad that
we're keeping our finger in the pie, that we were even invited to participate.
I hope the cooperation increases in the future because we like being involved."
to November 10, 1997 Contents Page