New details released on FIU’s UniversityCity Prosperity Project

Photo: Chloe Gonzalez

FIU’s UniversityCity Prosperity Project has released new details on its $15 million project that may provide a new hangout spot for students, while strengthening the connection between FIU and the City of Sweetwater.

“At FIU, we’re bridge builders. We like to build bridges between people. We like to build bridges between communities. We like to bring people together and there’s no better example of this than the actual bridge we’re building,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg.

Funded by a TIGER grant, the UniversityCity Prosperity Project plans to make improvements to the infrastructure and community transit of FIU and Sweetwater, as well as develop the Informed Traveler Program and Applications.

Enhancements to infrastructure include the pedestrian bridge and plazas on SW 8th St. and 109th Ave. that are being constructed from a partnership between FIGG Bridge Engineers and Munilla Construction Management.

The 32-foot wide bridge will not only connect plazas on the south end of Sweetwater and the north end of FIU, but its unique features may also make it a new place for students to hang out.

While on the bridge, students can use its Wi-Fi, electrical outlets, and sit at the built-in table and chairs in the shade provided by a cover. A bike-tire track along the side of the stairs will make it easy for students to walk their bicycles up the stairs without having to lift it up each stair.

Also, the bridge benefits FIU students by providing a safe way to cross over an arterial road.

“He [FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg] wanted to really build a relationship with the City of Sweetwater … So it’s a way of linking the two communities,” said Kenneth Jessell, FIU senior vice president for Finance and Administration and chief financial officer, “It’s almost a Berlin Wall trying to cross 8th street … It’s very dangerous so we’ve always worried about the safety of our students and others.”

The construction process to prepare the area is said to begin on Nov. 11 of this year. Construction on the bridge is expected to start in early 2017 and it will be completed in Spring of 2018.

Even though the bridge is the largest and most visible component, it’s only one part of a much greater project.

FIU’s UniversityCity Prosperity Project also includes a community transit aspect, which will have three types of transit vehicles on the road. The first will be hybrid-electric trolleys that cross U.S.41 as they travel to and from FIU and the City of Sweetwater. The second will be a back-up circulator bus and the third will be a multi-purpose outreach vehicle.

The bus service that already commutes between The Biscayne Bay Campus and the Modesto Maidique campis, as well as the shuttles operating within FIU, will be expanded to include stops in the cities of Sweetwater and perhaps Doral, said Jessell. It will not only be available to FIU students, faculty and staff but also to Sweetwater residents.

Jessell explained that through a partnership with Miami-Dade transit, they’re going to incorporate a transit station in Parking Garage 6 where express bus service will be traveling back and forth from the airport and FIU in a short amount of time. This garage will also house buses previously stored on the East side of campus. It was designed and built to include a bus depot, said Jessell.

This new community transit system will be included in the new ITPA software.

“You’ll know when your bus is coming, where it’s going to be, what the backlog might be what the delay might be,” said Jessell.

The ITPA extends beyond community transit to offer FIU students, faculty, and staff real time traffic, congestion, and route information. It will send users notifications about efficient, timesaving routes. Also, it might suggest nearby places to stop at where drivers can wait out the estimated time until any congestion clears up.

ITPA, in addition to the upcoming improvements to infrastructure and the community transit system, hopes to strengthen the FIU/City of Sweetwater connection and it will encourage economic growth for both parties involved.

“We’re going to link FIU and the City of Sweetwater … That’s why it’s called UniversityCity Prosperity Project because we think it improves the prosperity in this community,” said Jessell.


1 Comment on "New details released on FIU’s UniversityCity Prosperity Project"

  1. Jack Medfeld | March 15, 2018 at 3:17 PM | Reply

    Someone needs to be jailed! Immediately.

    No one should be TOO BIG TO JAIL!


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