Accountability needed, not a bridge

It’s hard to make sense of the way things happen sometimes, and no example is more accurate to this than the tragedy that struck our usually bright campus in the past few days. Even harder, still, is trying to stay level-headed with what should result from such a tragedy.

Yes, I am referring to the much-discussed bridge, one which would help eliminate the perils of South Dixie Highway for commuting pedestrians. It is an idea that holds no real drawback other than expense. But I wonder if it is an overreaction by our proactive student body.

Opening the pages of this very newspaper, I was appalled to see what some had to say. “These are people’s lives at stake,” said one student. “How many more students need to die before something is done?” another asked.

Aren’t we jumping to conclusions? Shouldn’t there be an inherent understanding that U.S. 1 is a busy, dangerous thoroughfare? Sure, there have been a handful of deaths over the past decade or so revolving around UM students and U.S. 1, but shouldn’t we focus on safety rather than the exhaustive process of building a bridge?

There are all kinds of financial, zoning and practicality issues related to a matter that could be resolved with safe habits. One important step has already been taken-a countdown positioned next to the walk sign at the Mariposa intersection that will help students avoid confusion.

The next step is accountability. We can’t walk through life’s troubles and just try to build bridges over them. There is grief, to be sure, and celebration of a life lost too young. But ignoring it as a lesson for the rest of us is being too idealist. A bridge simply is not necessary.

We know the perils of U.S. 1. We know the ramifications of dense city traffic. We know that, as Dave Matthews sang, “Life is short but sweet for certain.”

I know Ashley Kelly was a fan of Dave Matthews. So, in turn, I leave you with this quote (from Under the Table and Dreaming’s “Best of What’s Around”): “Whatever tears at us/Whatever holds us down/And if nothing can be done/We’ll make the best of what’s around.”

Ben Minkus can be contacted at