Tragedy sparks push for U.S. 1 pedestrian bridge

A series of actions have been taken at UM to improve pedestrian after freshman Ashley Kelly died last Spring after being hit by a car while crossing a U.S. 1 intersection.

Kelly was crossing the street with Andrea Cinque at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Mariposa Court when they were struck by a 1999 Ford Explorer. Cinque was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital the next morning.

President Donna E. Shalala issued a statement about the accident.

“I have ordered an immediate safety review,” Dr. Shalala said. “The University will vigorously explore solutions to help prevent future accidents, including working with city, state and federal officials to explore the possibility of building a pedestrian bridge across South Dixie Highway.”

Pedestrian overpass efforts are now under way, with support from the entire UM community, including administration and Student Government.

“It’s kind of a dual track,” Sarah Artecona, vice president of Media and Community Relations, said. “We are looking for a long-term solution which is the pedestrian overpass, but we are also looking for some short-term ones.”

Dr. Pat Whitely, vice president for Student Affairs, agreed.

“I’m hoping that we can use a horrific situation for something positive for future generations,” Dr. Whitely said. “The ultimate progress is going to be the pedestrian overpass.”

Local and state representatives met soon after to discuss possible long and short-term solutions for a pedestrian overpass.

Among the immediate changes will be the addition of more lights and trimming back landscaping to increase visibility. A training tape will be produced to caution students before crossing the streets and will be televised on the Hurry ‘Cane shuttles, and students will be made aware of pedestrian issues during Fall orientation.

Teressa Dalpe, Natalia Maldonado and Caralyn Pearson contributed to this article.

Megha Garg can be contacted at