Staff Editorial 2/21: Don’t bypass the overpass

Since 1990, three University of Miami students have died as a result of being hit by a car crossing  U.S. 1. That is three too many.

That statistic does not include the five students who have been severely injured since 1989 or other individuals who are not affiliated with the university.

Miami is full of problematic drivers. People constantly run red lights intentionally, and speed and text while on the road. Of course, this results in serious consequences that don’t seem to get any better.

Since 2003, there has been a solution in the works to try and solve this problem: Building an overpass across U.S. 1. However, several obstacles have elongated this process including allocating the funds necessary and getting the proper individuals on board.

The owners of the University Centre parking lot have rejected more than $1.8 million for a handful of parking spaces stating it may potentially hurt the businesses located in the shopping center. But a few spaces don’t seem like that big of a threat, especially when the parking lot is hardly ever filled to capacity.

Money is obviously not making these owners budge, so we must rely on the county to make a decision, and fast. There is no reason why people have to be putting their lives at risk while crossing a busy street – especially if they’re crossing the street legally using the pedestrian crosswalk.

The funds have already been secured, and there is no reason we should have to wait any longer. After 10 years, enough is enough.

The overpass would be built straight to the University Centre shopping plaza, which obviously curtails to UM students. Not only is it advertised in the name of the center, but various businesses provide discounts to students with a valid Cane ID. Therefore, building an overpass would most likely help these businesses, not hurt them.

As of now, the county has been exploring its options, including pursuing eminent domain for the handful of parking spaces. That option could take a few years in court battles. Another would be to build a walkway that connects to an overpass leading pedestrians to the university-owned Gables One Tower. An additional option would be to improve the safety of the existing intersection and not build an overpass, which wouldn’t solve the problem.

Before the funding expires, a decision must be made. Lives are at risk and that is unjust when alternative solutions are possible and readily available.

Let’s save lives. Give the overpass a green light.


Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.