Emory Report

Feb. 22, 1999

 Volume 51, No. 21

Chace responds to letters regarding Lullwater road

Thank you very much for writing to express your concern about Lullwater. I take that concern, which is felt by many people, seriously, and so I respond to you with a candid expression of my own feelings and thoughts about the land.

My wife, daughter and I live within the bounds of Lullwater and care for it deeply. It is our home, and we spend a good deal of time there. We have gotten to know it intimately-its trees and paths, its vistas and its peaceful harmonies. It is an asset unique to the University and to all members of the Emory community. I do not wish it spoiled.

Yet I work at Emory and spend more time on the main campus than I do at Lullwater. That is true of us all. We enjoy Lullwater, many of us, but 11,000 students and some 15,000 employees--faculty and staff--spend most of their time in association with Emory on the campus. That main campus is truly at the heart of our daily lives. And therefore, as much as I am concerned about the future of Lullwater, I am even more concerned about Emory in its entirety. It is in danger, real ecological and cultural danger. It is imperiled by excessive traffic, pollution from internal combustion engines and the despoliation caused by asphalt and concrete.

Those dangers are not diminishing but growing. Owing to the fact that we want to become excellent as a university and also to the fact that such an aspiration is intimately linked to the recruitment of more people, we must build more parking structures. (Despite our best efforts, we have too few people using public transportation). Yet we do not want to build such structures on the main campus. We want that campus even freer than it is today of automobiles. I believe that the one place left for such a structure--the last such structure we can now foresee--is within the University Apartments area. We envision a structure to house some 2,000 cars there.

Yet here is the rub: if people are to use such a structure and thus help us rid the main campus of even more automobiles, those people--you and your fellow members of this community--must be given a safe, dependable and rapid way to get to the main campus. Thanks to a thorough study we have completed, we know now that people simply will not park at the University Apartments area if they are forced to navigate the long and arduous Clairmont/North Decatur Road route to get to work. The way must be shorter.

That is why we have been thinking about a narrow shuttle road hugging the CSX rail line at the far end of Lullwater, connecting University Apartments to the main campus, crossing over those tracks to reach the Turman residence. Such a road would be limited to electric shuttle buses, electric-powered service vehicles and pedestrian/bike traffic. It would be closed to everything else. Any trees or other environmental life lost in construction would be replaced.

That is how far our thinking has come. All of it is provisional and open to your best advice and suggestions. We are working with the University Senate's committee on the environment and welcome its ideas just as we welcome yours. But keep in mind that our aim must be to protect all of Emory's environment.

Again, thank you for writing.

--President Bill Chace

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