December 4 , 2006
Build it and they will come: Survey results in for mixed-use project
by kelly gray
What else is needed on Clifton Road? That was one of 25 questions the Clifton Community Partnership asked its stakeholders during an online survey in September. The survey was developed to solicit input from Emory faculty and staff and the Clifton community to measure interest in a range of options proposed for the planned retail-residential project on Clifton Road, across from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CCP’s outreach to the community on the Clifton Road mixed-use development is supportive of Emory’s strategic plan and its challenge of “Creating Community — Engaging Society.” The CCP, in conjunction with Emory, will focus on four areas as it works to improve the quality of life in the Clifton community: activity centers, housing alternatives, transportation choices, and pedestrian-friendly streetscapes. This proposed development is a project that will support each of these focus areas.
After survey responses were calculated, the results were shared with Emory’s proposed partner in the development, Cousins Properties Inc. Cousins Properties will use the survey to help shape the proposed retail mix. Preliminary work on this site is expected to begin late next summer.
The key objective of the survey was to determine what retail, entertainment and service options should be included in the site. An overwhelming majority of survey participants recommended including a café, a specialty market and a specialty restaurant.
After establishing the level of interest in each feature, the likelihood and usage for services offered during various times of the day was examined. Respondents indicated that they would like a café that was open primarily during the lunch time hours, but also on mornings, nights and weekends. The specialty restaurant response was much the same, with lunch and dinner hours favored. Respondents indicated that it was most important for the specialty market to be open in the evening hours.
One of the questions in the survey was open-ended. When asked what other services or retail options they would included in the new project, 475 responses were generated. The responses ranged from general ideas to naming specific merchants.
Comments from the survey revealed what was widely known for those currently working on or near Clifton road. “Too little time,” “too much traffic” or “nothing is within walking distance” were comments that repeated in survey responses when participants were asked about leaving their offices during the workday. Many of the participants indicated an interest in leaving campus or their workplace for lunch if there were a way to get there quickly, without moving their vehicles.
When survey participants were asked about their current practices for leaving campus or the workplace during the day for lunch or to run errands, there were no real surprises. Over half of the respondents (51 percent) said they leave campus or their workplace for lunch. When asked about the distance they are willing to travel for lunch, 53 percent of the respondents said they walk to a place nearby and 58 percent said they drive to a place nearby. These results underscore the need for a range of retail and service options along Clifton Road.
The survey was distributed through an e-mail blast to Emory faculty and staff, community members and the Clifton Community Partnership Advisory Group. An additional e-mail was sent to Emory Healthcare employees.
The CCP received more than 1,300 responses to the survey and more than 200 additional comments were received via e-mail. The majority of respondents (72 percent) were women and respondents were evenly divided by age and income level.
Complete survey results and a mixed-use report developed for the site can be found on the CCP Web site at