January 12, 2004

Emory Village improvements on the way

Dear Editor:

Over the past three years, the Alliance to Improve Emory Village (AIEV) has been hard at work to revitalize Emory Village. Our organization comprises Druid Hills residents, faculty and staff from Emory, and property/business owners in the Village. We are a nonprofit, charitable corporation and our mission is: to “create a safe, walkable, economically viable, mixed-use community that is an asset to the surrounding historic neighborhoods and Emory University.”

In 2002, we completed a revitalization plan for Emory Village, which can be seen on our website: www.emoryvillage.org. In 2003, we raised money to implement the plan and conduct further analysis of its recommendations. Those recommendations include significantly improved sidewalks and pedestrian areas, as well as traffic- calming methods along North Decatur Road from Lullwater to Clifton and an improvement to the five-way intersection at North Decatur, Oxford and Dowman. The streetscape plan also calls for converting the angled parking to parallel parking, planting street trees, removing the overhead wires and installing bicycle lanes, wider sidewalks, new lighting, mid-block pedestrian crosswalks and designs compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The road diet was proposed to make the Village safer and more accessible to pedestrians. The economic revitalization of Emory Village is predicated upon creating a hospitable pedestrian environment.

A roundabout, at the main intersection, is being suggested because it is a safer, more efficient form of traffic control than signalled intersections.

Initially, AIEV’s consultants proposed conducting a physical test of the road diet and roundabout to determine their feasibility. However, DeKalb County’s transportation staff was appropriately concerned about the safety and cost of implementing the changes on a temporary basis. Fortunately, we now can use a new computerized transportation model to analyze the impact of the proposed roundabouts and road diet recommendations. DeKalb County has used models before to make decisions regarding intersection design and is willing to decide on the future of this intersection after the modeling is conducted. The modeling will simulate traffic along the North Decatur corridor from Briarcliff to Clairmont.

We expected the modeling to be completed at the end of December 2003. This month, AIEV will have a public meeting to discuss the results. We will advertise the exact meeting date, and we also encourage people to sign up for our listserv at our website. The website has the answers to many questions and also specific information about the data in the current study.

Many of you already have told us how eager you are for the changes in Emory Village to begin. We assure you we want them, too, but we must thoroughly consider all issues related to the proposed changes before implementation can begin. With the help of DeKalb County and the Atlanta Regional Commission, we are finally in a position to make the Village the wonderful amenity and visicreated in the plan we all worked on. Our current schedule is to complete the engineering and construction documents in 2004 and complete construction of the streetscapes in 2005. Thank you for your continued interest, involvement and support.

Stuart Meddin, chair
Alliance to Improve Emory Village