August 9, 1999
Volume 51, No. 37
Max Cleland to visit Emory for alternative transportation forum on 'smart growth'
Emory's efforts and success at carefully planned growth and alternative transportation initiatives have resulted in a special honor: U.S. Senator Max Cleland (D-Ga.) has selected Emory as the site for an Aug. 25 field tour for the U.S. Senate Smart Growth Task Force. Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes will be a special guest and speaker at the event.
"I am extremely pleased that Emory University has volunteered to host the Senate Smart Growth Task Force's examination of smart growth activities at the university level," said Cleland, a steering committee member of the task force. "Emory has recognized that, as part of the Atlanta community that is encouraging transportation alternatives and more pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, it will be beneficial to redefine and restructure its campus to make it not only more sustainable and accessible, but also improve the quality of life for the local residents. Efforts like those at Emory will play an integral part in Atlanta's ability to meet its air quality and traffic congestion goals. I commend them for their leadership in this regard and look forward to our discussion."
The Senate task force is a bipartisan organization established earlier this year to address community-focused development policies and assist states and localities in confronting sprawl issues. At the Aug. 25 forum Atlanta leaders will discuss how to adopt a regional approach in addressing growth and development issues.
President Bill Chace said he is delighted to co-host the task force. "Our campus planning is predicated on the fact that as the largest employer in DeKalb County we are concerned not only with the teaching, research and health care delivery that takes place within our buildings, but also with quality of life issues for all members of our community--on and off campus," he said. "We are working hard with our neighbors, colleagues along the Clifton Corridor and other Atlanta groups to develop solutions to the challenges that face our community."
Over the past several years, Emory has initiated long-term development strategies that emphasize sensitivity to the environment and surrounding community. A major goal of the Campus Master Plan is to create a pedestrian campus, replacing cars and concrete with green spaces and walkways. Most parking will be moved to the campus perimeter, while alternative transportation, including increased public transportation and carpooling programs, is being aggressively pursued to reduce the number of vehicles in the area.
To improve the air quality and alleviate traffic congestion in its community, Emory has worked in partnership with many local and regional groups. Invited guests at the Aug. 25 event include state legislators, DeKalb County officials and representatives from the new Georgia Regional Transportation Authority, MARTA, the Southern Coalition for Advanced Transportation (SCAT) and the Georgia Conservancy. Erick Gaither, senior associate vice president for business management, said that past and ongoing collaborative efforts with groups such as Georgia Power, Atlanta Gas Light and SCAT have given Emory access to various electric and alternative-fueled vehicles that have helped the University's efforts to alleviate air pollution.
"We're working with other groups, including the Clifton Corridor Transportation Management Association, to request federal funding for a host of new initiatives, including electric shuttles and expanded commuter option programs," said Gaither, who also heads Emory's alternative transportation program. Last month Emory, along with Georgia Power and Clean Cities Atlanta, received a $225,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund quick-charging stations for electric vehicles (Emory Report, July 26). The station will be located in the new parking deck currently under construction at University Apartments.
The Aug. 25 field tour is open to the public and members of the Emory community and will take place at 12:45 p.m. at the Emory Conference Center. For more information, call Betty Willis or Jeremy Berry at 404-727-5166.