With all this talk about the road running through the University of Miami arboretum, everyone seems to have forgotten about another promised project, the pedestrian overpass that is supposed to span U.S. 1 near Mariposa Court.
This bridge just makes sense; it would connect students with all the businesses that are tailored to their interests. Friday’s, CVS, Blockbuster and University Chicken Grill have all invested in the college demographic.
Pedestrian overpasses over U.S. 1 are not unique in Miami. There is a bridge over U.S. 1 from the Douglas Road and Vizcaya metro stops.
As with most major projects, funding is an issue. The recession, however, is not an excuse. Albert Hernandez, deputy director of Miami-Dade Transit, said in April of 2005 that he wanted to be responsive to the death of then freshman Ashley Kelly, and the bridge construction that was originally scheduled to be completed in the time between 2009 and 2010 would be accelerated. He said the bridge should be completed by 2008.
Consequently, the plan would begin construction before the major effects of the economy became apparent. The stock market did not hit rock bottom until March of 2009.
Though the recession has wrecked havoc on the economy, the university should help fund this project. Although UM has not escaped the recession without negative side effects, it has shown a commitment to finance programs that enhance student safety.
The university has funded the student patrol program, which has students roaming the campus on segways performing low-risk tasks, and in September of 2009, UMPD Chief Rivero told The Miami Hurricane about his plan for a $200,000 expansion of the security camera system on campus.
The pedestrian overpass is an obvious way to continue to promote student safety. The fact that it would be off campus shouldn’t be an issue. UM runs shuttles to safely transport students to places like the Grove and most of the ride is off campus.
So, administrators at UM and city officials, please be proactive. Don’t wait for another student death to begin construction, but let common sense and basic safety be the major push.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial staff.