It may be some time before wholesale changes are made to Emory
Village, but at least the ball is rolling, and before it stops it
may roll into a very different look for the small commercial area
adjacent to the University campus.
On Jan. 26 in the Emory Presbyterian Church, the Alliance to Improve
Emory Village held a workshop to brief village stakeholders (merchants,
neighborhood residents and, of course, University-related individuals)
on what has been done so far in planning changes to the busy (and
often dangerous) intersection that is home to the district.
The alliance is a group of those very same stakeholders whove
joined together to work cooperatively toward a solution that might
benefit everyone. Around 100 people attended the Saturday-morning
What they came up with may be a pleasant surprise to those whove
taken their life into their own hands while crossing one of the
five roads that meet at the Emory Village intersection. The most
popular solution proposed at the workshop was to install some form
of traffic roundabout to slow vehicles moving through the intersection
and provide a safer pedestrian environmentall in an aesthetically
The alliance has hired Michael Wallwork, an internationally known
roundabout expert from Australia, to consult on the project. The
designer of dozens of roundabouts across the United States and the
world, Wallwork briefed workshop attendants on the concept and design
One of the reasons I like roundabouts is that theyre
safer than anything else we have out there, Wallwork said
in a thick Australian accent. Cars go much slower, and its
much harder to hit somebody; I like to say you can always go around
to the other side and have another shot at them.
Wallwork offered three roundabout alternatives for Emory Village:
an oval-shaped roundabout that stretches most of the width of the
intersection (his preference); two separate, circular roundabouts;
and one circular roundabout in front of Dowman Drive (the Emory
gate), coupled with a redirection of the north leg of Oxford Road
so that it intersects N. Decatur Road perpendicularly.
Hector Morales, capital program manager for Facilities Management
and an alliance boardmember, said while he appreciates the appeal
of a roundabout, hes concerned that the Emory Village intersection
is simply too busy for a roundabout to work. Pedestrian safety,
he said, is the Universitys top priority in any village redesign.
We may be building something that may not work in the future,
Morales said. My concern is that traffic never stops moving
[in a roundabout]. Although it slows vehicles down, I think a car
physically stopped at a traffic light is the best way to ensure
The roundabout was the most drastic (and expensive) idea proposed
at the workshop. Other, less radical alternatives include the aforementioned
redirection of Oxford Road, which would turn the main village intersection
into a more conventional, four-pointed crossing; or eliminating
some of the paved surface around the intersection and rearranging
street lane configuration to slow traffic.
The next step, Morales said, is for the alliances architectural
consultant (Peter Drey & Co. of Atlanta) to create architectural
drawings. After the alliance approves of the design, it will begin
to look for funding, a substantial portion of which, Morales said,
would likely come from a government source.