On Nov. 16, 1990, a University of Miami freshman was killed crossing U.S. 1. On Nov. 14, 1996, a junior was hit. On Feb. 8, 1998, another junior was struck. And on April 11, 2005 freshman Ashley Kelly was hit and killed. It’s been more than two years since the most recent death and nearly 17 years since the 1990 incident was reported. Still, no overpass has been built. And while Kelly–who was struck by a driver running a red light at full speed–waited to cross legally, many students do not pay heed to the “don’t walk” signal, blatantly scurrying across U.S. 1 with a feeling of invincibility.
It wasn’t until July 26 that architectural designs for the overpass were presented and set to be voted on, with the second presentation last Thursday. One of the designs is described as “modern” while the other is more “Mediterranean” in style. After all these years, do the aesthetics of the overpass really matter? Can the prolonged beautification of Coral Gables and the University of Miami be put on hold just this once? One would think UM and Miami-Dade are trying to appeal to condominium developers with such a decision. As a result of this process, they are failing to provide a safe means to cross the most dangerous road near campus.
The coordinator for Miami-Dade Transit has said that U.S. 1 is “like a game of dare to cross.” How many dares do UM students have to take before the university and Miami-Dade get to the truth of this matter: enough is enough. Let’s not wait for another student to get killed before the process is finally completed. As long as the structure is not structurally deficient, the design of the overpass is irrelevant. There are already models in place, such as at Vizcaya and Douglas Road, so what is taking so long to complete the one at Mariposa, across from campus?
This need not be an opportunity for UM to pave the way and set an example for something innovative. For once, let’s be content with following the pack. This time, time is of the essence.