September 25, 2006
boots are made for walking
BY david payne
There’s something new afoot on Emory’s campus—students, staff and faculty.
Emory recently took the next step toward putting the principles outlined in its sustainability vision into practice. Although some faculty and staff have questioned rerouting buses to skirt Emory’s core campus, the new routes are based on guiding principles in the 2005 Campus Master Plan, Emory’s sustainability vision and a 2005 Student Government Association (SGA) resolution.
Emory’s vehicle-less core campus is accessible by bike, wheelchair and on foot. It supports the overall sustainability vision for Emory, including a safe and healthy environment in which to work and study, according to Ciannat Howett, Emory’s new director of sustainability.
“Individual movement on campus allows us to connect with our natural environment and engage each other in a way we could never achieve when traveling by car or bus,” Howett said.
Howett, who studied at Emory in the 1980s, remembers a campus that was focused on vehicular movement. “Since returning to Emory, I’ve noticed an exciting change going on and it encourages walking, wheelchair accessibility, biking and transportation alternatives rather than automobiles,” Howett said. “Moving by foot or on wheels among your colleagues strengthens a sense of community and connection to this place we call Emory.”
“Let’s not forget the health and wellness aspect of promoting a walkable campus,” said John Wegner, Emory’s chief environmental officer and an environmental studies senior lecturer. “Emory is a national leader in healthcare and public health. A core pedestrian campus promotes outdoor movement and encourages healthier living. Ultimately it’s supportive of public health—our health.
“Nothing on Emory’s core campus is more than five to ten minutes away by foot or wheelchair,” Wegner said.
Last year, the SGA unanimously approved the plan to remove vehicles from the core campus. Ryan Paddock, the 2006–07 SGA president, said that eliminating vehicles and buses encourages a college campus atmosphere that is livelier and emphasizes human connections.
“Walking with swarms of students and faculty gives Emory a real college feel that you don’t necessarily have on other parts of campus,” Paddock said. “Students can quickly and safely navigate through the central heart of campus without worrying about sharing these roads with cars or buses.”
Removing shuttle buses from the heart of Emory’s campus is part of a larger update to shuttle routes that began in late August. It includes updated campus routes as well as routes to Executive Park via Briarcliff Road, downtown Decatur and expanding Park-n-Ride service. Campus routes connect through Woodruff Circle, in front of Emory University Hospital. The Woodruff Circle is envisioned as an expanding primary ‘nexus’ or hub for shuttles on campus.
All shuttle routes are under review and may be modified based on ridership patterns and logistical considerations.‘nexus’ or hub for shuttles on campus.
All shuttle routes are under review and may be modified based on ridership patterns and logistical considerations.