The time for action is now

Tragedy has struck the UM family again. Ashley Kelly died Tuesday night from injuries she sustained from being hit by a car while crossing U.S. 1 to go to T.G. I. Friday’s, something we have all done at some point during our time at UM. Our condolences go out to her friends and family.

Our hearts are also with Andrea Cinque, who also suffered injuries in the accident, and who must now deal with its aftermath.

Clearly, nothing can make up for the value of Ashley’s life and the potential she had to influence the world and those around her, but we can do something to preserve her memory and try prevent such a horrific accident from happening again.

At the student level, we should make an effort to be more conscientious of our actions and surroundings. The pedestrian right-of-way doesn’t matter if the driver isn’t paying attention. We would do well to remember this, for example, when crossing Ponce to the Metro station, since the “walk” sign takes a long time to come on and we all tend to jaywalk. Also, when driving around campus, be aware of your surroundings. It’s a college campus and a residential community, and there will inevitably be people walking around, even when it’s dark and late at night.

At the government level, however, Ashley’s life might have been saved if, in the past, the city or the county had taken the initiative to construct an overpass for this highly traveled path. The problem in the area is not new: Since 1990, three UM students have been hit crossing U.S. 1.

On Wednesday, the Student Government Senate proposed the “Ashley Kelly Resolution” in support of the construction of a pedestrian bridge, similar to the one near Douglas Road and the Village of Merrick Park, to make crossing Ponce de Leon Boulevard and U.S. 1 safer. Their support represents the concern expressed by the UM student body about the importance of such a construction. We hope that local and University officials will hear the students’ calls for change and respond, as they should, by providing a safe way to cross the six lanes of U.S. 1.

In fact, in the Nov. 20, 1990, issue of The Hurricane following the death of freshman Eric Adams as he was crossing U.S. 1, the editorial staff challenged officials to “take whatever steps are in order to secure the safety of UM and Coral Gables residents.” Fifteen years later, it’s clear that this challenge was not fully met. Sure, left-turn lights were added and some pedestrian signals have timers, but any student can attest to the fact that U.S. 1 is still a dangerous roadway to cross, especially at night.

After losing yet another life, will the local government, with the help of the University, finally seriously take into consideration the addition of a pedestrian bridge? How many more lives must be lost before drastic action is taken?