Emory Report
November 28, 2005
Volume 58, Number 12


Emory Report homepage  

November 28, 2005
CCTMA 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 of the 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 neighbors—not 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 who participate 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 solution.”

A number of concerns arose after Mandl opened the floor to questions, on everything from urging employees not to cut through residential neighborhoods on their way to or from work, to managing construction traffic, to improving shuttle service 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 whose traffic efficiency received a failing grade from traffic engineers during the study.

The CCTMA transit report is available for download at www.finadmin.emory.edu.