April 26, 1999
Volume 51, No. 29
Campus groups continue discussion about Lullwater shuttle road
President Bill Chace is calling a special meeting of the University Senate to discuss the proposed Lullwater shuttle road and University Apartments parking deck, which continue to make their way through the University review process.
To date, several Senate advisory committees have voted on the proposed shuttle road and parking deck including Campus Development (14-1 in favor); Environment (12-0 against); and Traffic and Parking (10-2 in favor). The Accessibility Committee was scheduled to meet on April 21 as Emory Report went to press, as was the Employee Council. The President's Cabinet reviewed and approved the proposal in a meeting earlier this month.
In a letter to the Emory community in March, President Bill Chace said he was "convinced that a shuttle road needs to be built in order to connect the main campus to University Apartments, to enable those who live there and who will park in the new parking structure to commute easily to the main campus, and to achieve our goal of removing cars from the campus core."
Chace also said he was convinced that Lullwater had to be protected, and he outlined several specific proposals to do so, including surveying Lullwater's boundaries and requesting that the Board of Trustees designate Lullwater as a protected area pursuant to current University policy.
It should have been expected that different constituencies would view the issue in different ways, said John Magnotta, chair of the Senate's Traffic and Parking Committee. "From my committee's perspective, we're committed to making sure traffic on this campus runs safely and as smoothly as possible, and that parking be provided faculty, staff, students and visitors to the extent practical," he said. "In some issues, the committees are all rowing the same way; this happens to be one where we don't see eye to eye with the Committee on the Environment, and that's to be expected. We all still love each other. We can agree to disagree."
Several factors are involved in COE's opposition to the road, but Size said foremost is the feeling that the University should at least try alternatives before touching Lullwater. "We think that's the most prudent way to proceed, to try these alternatives--not all of them exhaustively-- but try them out, especially shuttling down Clairmont Road to North Decatur Road, and see if they work," Size said. "Without trying them we may do great, and needless, harm."
The Student Government Association also made a formal contribution to the discussion, passing by a 17-7 margin a resolution calling for a forum to advise the Board of Trustees on further development. The bill makes no specific mention of the shuttle road, but it does maintain that Lullwater should not be subject to any encroachment other than the construction of blue-light emergency phones and unpaved pathways.
Further encroachment on Lullwater is also a concern to Size's committee. Indeed, the COE's resolution states that the road as proposed will "do irreparable harm to Lullwater," Size said. And once the University starts nibbling away at the edges of the property, who's to say the encroachment will not continue?
Magnotta empathizes but still supports the road. "Facilities Management really did a good job because if that road were any further toward the edge [of Lullwater], it would be on the CSX railroad tracks," he said. "If you look at the numbers, [the road] is a decimal point in terms of the acreage. And I happened to believe President Chace when he said that during his presidency there will be no further incursions into Lullwater, period."
Another issue to consider, both Magnotta and Duvarney mentioned, is how the Lullwater shuttle road will further integrate the main campus with Emory's "east campus" at University Apartments. "To make that a significant part of our campus, with a daycare center and graduate and married students living there, some connectivity was a good idea," Duvarney said. "No one wants to see a road built near Lullwater, but the good definitely outweighs the bad, and that's what it came down to."
Given the importance of balancing growth, development and environmental issues, Chace called the special Senate meeting to discuss the proposed shuttle road and parking deck as a group. "Many faculty members, students and employees have spent much time and energy ensuring that the University's growth and development is done thoughtfully, logically and with environmental concerns in mind," said Chace. "I want to make sure we come together as a community on how to make the campus a better learning and living environment for everyone."
--Nancy Seideman and Michael Terrazas