November 28, 2005
sends final transit report to county
By michael terrazas
At a public meeting in the Emory Conference Center’s
Silverbell Pavilion, Nov. 14, the Clifton Corridor Transportation
Management Association (CCTMA) released its final draft of a transit
study that now will be incorporated to a larger plan being developed
by DeKalb County.
Nearly 200 people attended the meeting, which was hosted
by CCTMA President Betty Willis. Willis began by explaining the multistep
process involved in moving traffic
and transit improvements from concept to implementation. CCTMA’s is merely
the first of a series of plans, she said, that will culminate in a Georgia Regional
Transportation Authority (GRTA) report that establishes funding priorities. That
report will make its way to Washington.
“There is a limited amount of funds, and the fiscal climate in Washington
is not the best right now,” Willis said. “That’s going to make
it even more difficult to get funding in the future.”
Willis handed the floor over to Mike Mandl, executive
vice president for finance and administration, who gave a broad overview
CCTMA plan’s recommendations.
The recommendations fall under four “smart” categories—smart
rail, smart streets, smart choices and smarth growth—which Mandl explained
with some detail. Most of the specific recommended improvements have been on
Emory’s wish list for years (Mandl said providing some sort of MARTA
rail connection is critical for the corridor, for example) so he used the opportunity
to stress how vital it is to the University to work in conjunction with its
only the other institutions along Clifton but the residential neighbors in
Druid Hills and other nearby areas.
“At the end of the day, it’s about community and quality of life,
both for our employees and for all of you,” Mandl said.
Among the more notable items in Mandl’s presentation
was a proposal to reduce traffic in front of Druid Hills High School
by moving the main traffic
thoroughfare closer to Clifton. Shifting the bulk of vehicular traffic to a
renovated Ridgewood Road, for example, could remove cars both from
Haygood Drive in front
of the high school and from Clifton itself, making the area in front of Emory
Hospital and Emory Clinic more pedestrian-
Another move was directed toward what Mandl called
Emory’s No. 1 transit
priority: removing single-occupancy vehicles from the corridor. Along with
programs like making hybrid vehicles available for checkout by employees
in alternative transportation programs came the promise that Emory would stop
subsidizing parking for its employees, raising parking rates enough to pay
the full cost of debt service on parking facilities.
“We have to put our money where our principles and values are,” he
said. “We are part of the problem—that means we can be part of the
A number of concerns arose after Mandl opened the floor
to questions, on everything from urging employees not to cut through
way to or from work, to managing construction traffic, to improving shuttle
and perhaps establishing satellite parking lots at area shopping centers,
whose expansive lots often go largely unused during weekday business hours.
More than one attendee expressed the hope that the
transit plan not recommend widening area intersections, even those
a failing grade from traffic engineers during the study.
The CCTMA transit report is available for download