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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Terrible, tumultuous traffic

Welcome to Atlanta (no, I'm not about to quote Ludacris)--where driving somewhere that is five minutes away takes half an hour (or more). Where all 12 lanes on I-85 are somehow in a complete standstill no matter what time of day. Where we say things like "I guess I'll work an extra two hours tonight because I don't want to sit in traffic."

If you're from Atlanta, you can definitely relate to this. Especially if you work at Emory.

As we all know, summer has come to a close, meaning it's time to go back to school. Yes, this is a good thing, but not so much for the traffic. The roads are full of moms in minivans packed with kids going to school, teenagers eating Pop-Tarts as they head to high school, teachers, commuting college students, grad students, AND those of us who are going to work.

Has anyone noticed there are TWICE as many cars on the road today than there were a week ago? Particularly on the roads around Emory. Crazy.

Once I finally got into work this morning, I walked from office to office in the Miller-Ward Alumni House (MWAH) to discuss traffic in the area. I noticed that a majority of my colleagues were the most frustrated about Houston Mill Road. One would think driving on a tucked away, quaint, two-lane road would be pleasant--but not between the hours of 7:00-9:00 a.m.

The photo above is what most of Emory's employees have to wait in to get to work (including myself). There are times where I have actually said out loud "I am SO close (because I can see the Emory bridge and the turn into MWAH) yet SO far away" (since I'm completely stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic ... and I'm not adventurous or rebellious enough to hop in the opposite lane to get to work faster).

Clifton Road can be rough, too. It's an extremely busy road packed full of people who have places to go and there are important buildings such as Emory Law School and the Rollins School of Public Health which are constantly bustling. It's like an obstacle course--cars must constantly dodge buses and pedestrians and wait at long red lights.

Construction on the North Decatur Road roundabout began this week too. It'll be wonderful when it's finished. Next year. Ugh.

OK ... so let's switch to a more positive note. How can we solve this traffic issue? Unfortunately, there is nothing I can say that will magically fix this problem (I wish), but there are ways we can make the grueling drives to and from Emory a little bit better.

Jennifer Crabb 98Ox 00C, director EAA initiatives/technology, rides with her mother to and from work every day. Even though she gets stuck in gridlock traffic like the rest of us, she has company. Maybe carpooling with someone who lives near you will help the commute go by a little faster and make it more enjoyable.

We all know that the buses that constantly stop on the sides of Clifton road tend to hold up traffic. You've probably experienced road rage or possibly yelled out an explitive or two after slamming on the breaks behind a stopped bus.

Maybe we should look at this as a sign, since Emory is a pro-bus/pro-sustainability university. If more of us ride buses, the less cars on the road (and pollution in the air)! Our stress levels will decrease (which leads to less gray hairs and wrinkles ... always a good thing) as well as our commute times.

Or maybe the idea of creating rockin' playlists, purchasing albums/Emory podcasts on iTunes or listening to books on tape doesn't sound like such a bad idea.

I'll see you guys on I-85 during rush hour this afternoon! Can't wait! (Can we sense the sarcasm?)

--Farah Shackelford, communications intern, EAA

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