Emory’s Transportation and Parking Services will implement a series of changes to NightOwl and regular campus shuttle routes on Nov. 1.
A primary change involves expanding the NightOwl route so that these shuttles also run to the parking deck at Michael Street as well as the Woodruff Residential Center and certain destinations along Clifton Road to Houston Mill Road.
Prior to this change, the NightOwl only provided service to Starvine Parking Deck on Clairmont Campus, the Peavine parking deck on Eagle Row and Woodruff Circle, the traffic area behind the Dobbs University Center (DUC).
The NightOwl shuttle typically runs from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Fridays and from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Saturdays – after the regular campus shuttle has stopped running for the night, according to the Transportation and Parking Services’ website.
According to Alice Sloan, the communications coordinator for Transportation and Parking Services, administrators believe that the expansions to the late night service “will be helpful.”
“We have been reviewing routing options for several months,” Sloan said, adding that administrators considered several factors when deciding how to re-route the NightOwl shuttle stops. “We look at physical barriers since buses aren’t able to travel on all streets and through all intersections on campus.”
Administrators sent out a campus-wide survey and hosted a series of focus groups last spring to determine student and community transportation needs.
They used the feedback from the survey and focus group discussions, as well as “ridership counts,” to decide how to change and expand the NightOwl routes as well as the routes of regular campus shuttles.
For some students, the expanded NightOwl route will be especially convenient in light of recent crimes in the area. For example, a male Emory student was the victim of a robbery in Emory Village on Sunday, Sept. 30.
In addition, administrators have received reports in the last week of theft and physical assault around campus, the Wheel reported on Oct. 25.
“I can feel more comfortable traveling throughout campus in the later hours and avoiding any chance of being attacked or jumped on the way,” noted College sophomore Irene Byun, who currently lives at the Woodruff Residential Center.
Byun remarked that her walk home from the Robert W. Woodruff Library, where she sometimes does homework in the evening, is often difficult and time-consuming due to the fact that the Woodruff Residential Center is “far away from main campus.” She added that the walk from her residence hall to main campus could even sometimes be “painful in colder weather,” making the expanded NightOwl route a boon.
“The [expanded route] will make everything more accessible,” she said.
Sloan explained that University administrators will also re-route several other shuttles that run during regular hours, changing as well as adding stops on campus.
For instance, shuttles will no longer stop at the Lowergate parking decks, located near the Burlington Road Building; rather, they will stop on Uppergate Drive in order to accommodate Emory University Hospital construction on Lowergate Drive.
“Several infrastructure changes have been made in anticipation of this move, including the improvements to Woodruff Circle, improvements along Uppergate [Drive] and also improvements at the intersection at Uppergate [Drive] and Clifton [Road],” said Sloan.
She noted that administrators hope this particular change will increase pedestrian traffic safety in the area as construction progresses.
– Stephanie Fang