Editorial: Argosy statue barricade causes safety concerns

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FIUSM Editorial Staff | opinion@fiusm.com


As students, we’ve learned not to get too attached to sculptures that decorate the grounds on FIU, especially after Marty’s Cube was lifted from its spot near the Deuxieme Maison last May.

Now it seems that FIU faculty and students must learn to not to be scared of them as well.

The green barricade surrounding red sculpture or named “Argosy” by the artist Alexander Liberman, on the traffic circle on the 16th Street entrance of the University has left growing concerns for safety and traffic conditions for the pedestrians and drivers around it.

The barricade, along with the tarp on the fence, is tall enough that it restricts drivers from being able to spot or notice pedestrians or cars coming from the other side, which is worrying given it’s a roundabout.

This makes it all the harder to navigate around it and all the scarier for pedestrians who are trying to cross the street.

The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum’s curator of collections, Debbye Kirschtel-Taylor, said she was informed by the conservators handling the maintenance for “Argosy” that the renovations should end sometime this week.

The renovations started less than a month ago, but students still complain about the speed of cars even though the signs on the tarp warn drivers to slow down.

As if there wasn’t enough going on around the 16th Street entrance, there’s a giant electronic marquee that directs those entering the school and informing them about upcoming events, workshops or guest speakers FIU has planned.

The screen is large, distracting and requires concentration if one were to try to read it.

Drivers already have media-screen issues. According to a federal study 660,000 drivers nationwide use their cell phones or other electronic devices at any given daylight hour.

The renovation of the red statue is now a running joke among the student population on how our University is under more construction than our own highways.

There is an unsaid understanding that sometimes our venture onto campus includes walking under hard-hat zones or next to construction vehicles and that the remodeling or construction will help students in the long run.

However this art piece has become a hazard even with the warning signs posted on the tarp, whose purpose is to protect drivers and the conservators working inside of the fenced area, who are working on renovating the sculpture.

One of the renovations include its repainting, which requires a specific type of paint resilient enough to be used on ships and bridges.

Therefore the tarp serves to protect vehicles from the paint and it also protects the paint on the sculpture from the debris on the road.

But for those driving on the roundabout it serves as an inconvenience.

If the tarp itself were even just a little more transparent or a lighter color, it would allow drivers to see the cars and pedestrians, instead it leaves them blind to incoming traffic.

“Argosy” will soon look shiny and new but until then, we advise students to drive slow and be aware of surroundings, even if that means a new sculpture, hard-hat-area or traffic detour.

With all the construction and renovations being done, it’s clear that FIU is “building a better tomorrow,” but what about today?

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