The matter of building a pedestrian bridge over U.S.1 isn’t the University of Miami’s responsibility or domain. It is, however, responsible for the safety and well-being of its students within the confines of the campus itself. Understand that U.S.1 is a federal highway that runs through the City of Coral Gables, where UM is a resident. Any decision concerning road improvements and safety enhancements would probably fall under the jurisdiction of the City of Coral Gables and the Florida Department of Transportation.
And UM is not “putting students at risk if the overpass is not.completed in three years.” Some students, unfortunately, put themselves at risk by not using common sense and making a wrong decision that puts them in harm’s way. I wasn’t there to witness any of the past fatalities (not even when I went to UM) and I’m not trying to be unsympathetic to what family and friends go through in the aftermath of a horrible accident. But I have seen people take unnecessary risks to cross U.S. 1-and not just at the Metrorail Station-that may have contributed to awful outcomes in the past.
I’ve seen people at crosswalks with their toes right up to the streets as cars go speeding by them. Then some would see a break in traffic, hurry out to the middle of the highway and wait for the light to change while speeding motorists soon surround them going in both directions. And I’ve seen people exercise these same behaviors where there weren’t any crosswalks, crossing signals or traffic lights at all. Besides, not every unfortunate incident involving a student is the university’s problem to fix. What if the same thing happened in Coconut Grove, South Beach or even Ft. Lauderdale? Would this subject be looked at in the same light?
Genuardi wrote that “crossing the street should not be such a dangerous endeavor.” She’s right. However, that stretch of Ponce de Leon Blvd. is not a very busy street on a Sunday night. It probably averages 15-20 cars during the evening hours. So, what was going on that night that left one student seriously injured and the other physically unharmed? That seems to be a good question, not just for us but for the victim’s family. Because, if the existing crosswalks, signals and traffic lights are not good safety tools for crossing and driving the streets, then logically there should be more than five students struck by cars over the past 17 years. Granted, there should have been zero accidents, and every effort should be made to keep it at zero from this day forward. However, if you don’t use common sense in everyday life then nothing designed for your protection will keep you safe.
– S. Meyer
Class of 1993