By now, many students have heard of the two bridges planned for construction on campus – one that will span from the Eaton parking lot to the University Center (UC) patio, and the other to be in front of the Wellness Center.
Creating these bridges on campus is not an optimal use of the university’s time or money. The on-campus bridge construction will shift focus permanently off of the more important U.S. 1 bridge and obstruct the view of our beautiful lake, and the marginal gain of efficiency will not justify the costs.
The university needs to prioritize its focus.
Years earlier, there was talk of constructing another bridge near the University Metrorail station to help students cross the dangerous U.S. 1 more safely. On-campus bridges detract from the effort and time needed to pressure the city to build a bridge over the highway.
This path would actually save lives rather than just be used for functionality or beautification. While this structure is the city’s responsibility, the university should focus on pressuring the city to begin construction. UM is responsible for the total well-being of its students, which includes safety in the surrounding areas of the campus.
Since 1989, eight UM students have been struck trying to cross U.S. 1 to get to the retail spots at the center. Three of these students were killed. Convincing the city to build this bridge took years of lobbying, and it was said to be ready at the earliest, spring 2015. While all construction incurs delays, it has not even begun on a bridge that was supposed to be finished by now.
Beautification and convenience compared to a life-saving and safety project – which sounds more important to you?
Furthermore, building a bridge over the lake will obstruct the view. Functionality aside, the lake is central to the beauty of our campus.
Constructing a bridge over the lake will require workers and equipment to surround the lake for at least some portion of the fall semester. The finished bridge will also permanently block our beautiful view of the entire lake as we walk along.
If the purpose of the bridge is functionality, months of construction in the area will be making students’ commutes more difficult and decrease their experience.
How difficult is it really to walk around the lake? With all the problems in the world, an extra two-minute commute and calories burned should not merit the large amount of capital spent on constructing these bridges.
College students are sedentary enough with their hours of studying, and the walk around the lake to reach their destinations provides a few moments of calm and respite in their overworked brains and jam-packed schedules.
In comparison to the lives saved from a bridge over the highway, an extra two-minute commute does not merit the building of two bridges.
This construction actually detracts from UM’s beauty and daily experience, during which students can have a moment of peace to overlook the beauty of the lake.
Alyssa Jacobson is a senior majoring in advertising and political science.