Though she hasn’t been alerted of the newly discussed plans between the city and county, Whitely praised the city’s and county’s efforts.
“This news would be a dream come true, to save lives. That is what this amounts to, to save our students’ lives, and community members’ and Ponce Middle School too,” Whitely said. “This would be wonderful news at the end of the school year. We are proud of our students here that have continued to be instrumental, along with the county and city and state and federal agencies.”
Hernandez said after Coral Gables gives the county a permanent easement or similar alternative, the next step would be to present the plan to the Federal Transit Administration. If the three institutions agree, the county would review the bridge’s design. Construction would take two years.
Leen believes it will take about a month for the Gables commission to receive plans, which the city’s five commissioners would have to approve.
The county’s offer of $1.85 million to the shopping center owners would be rescinded, Hernandez said.
“Poetic justice,” said Coral Gables Vice Mayor Bill Kerdyk Jr.
Still, the University Centre owners — Fredi Consolo, Theodore Roy, Gail C. Gidney and Louis Grossman, trustee — are not in favor of a bridge at this intersection, according to a statement released Friday afternoon by their attorney, Amy Brigham Boulris.
“We sincerely believe a pedestrian bridge is not the best solution to the issue of pedestrian safety on this stretch of Dixie Highway. The public resources available should be devoted to installing street level pedestrian crossings with industry standard lighting and other current technologies, at more than one location, for the benefit of students from the university, as well as younger students from the nearby middle school and new magnet school, and the members of the general public attending events at the BankUnited Center. Some of the most serious accidents reported in this area have been a result of poor lighting.
“If a bridge were to be installed, it should be more centrally located to serve all these pedestrian groups, not just the university, though the university would be well served by a different location, too. Moving the location to the south to UM owned property, for example, would more directly connect UM facilities on the east and west sides of the highway, and would be a closer connection to the center of South Miami frequented by students.”
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