Gerard Albert/Contributing Writer
Jeffrey Frias, a senior interdisciplinary studies major who lives in 4th Street Commons, said he wasn’t going to bother coming to class if the crosswalk wasn’t reopened. This is a feeling that he said is shared among those who live in his building.
On the night of Monday, March 19, five days after the University City Bridge collapsed and resulted in the death of six victims, the crosswalk at Southwest Eighth Street and Southwest 109th Avenue reopened.
The reopening is the beginning of a return to a normal routine for students living in 109 Tower apartments and 4th Street Commons. Before the crosswalk was opened, students were forced to walk around to 107th Avenue to cross Eighth Street or wait for the shuttle set up by the University.
Cortavious Givens, a junior studying criminal justice, is the leasing and marketing manager at 109 Tower. He says that the closures have caused some frustration among the residents.
“Our big selling point is that we are the closest to campus, but now our residents had to walk down to 4th street to catch a bus, or walk around to 107th avenue to cross the street,” Givens said.
The inconvenience will be lessened by the crosswalk reopening, but students are still trying to bounce back from the experience, according to Givens.
The added safety that the bridge was going to provide to pedestrians was a big selling point for 109 Tower, Givens said.
Even drivers are feeling the effects of the Eighth Street closure. The traffic on 107th Avenue, in addition to traffic from the Fair, is making the commute to campus more difficult for students who drive to campus, according to Damien Broadus, a senior psychology major who usually drives to campus.
Broadus, who lives in 109 Tower, said he drove under the bridge days before it collapsed.
“There was something iffy about it,” he said. “I wouldn’t have walked across it.”
According to Broadus, the mood in 109 Tower was down the first day back but now that the crosswalk is opened it is slowly picking back up.
For Frias, Monday was a parking nightmare.
“I circled the lot for 25 minutes, just for a 50 minute class.” said Frias.
And as for the FIU shuttle, Frias said most residents didn’t know how it was going to work, and that it was taking so long that most students just walked to campus or returned to their rooms.
According to an email sent out by External Relations, six shuttles are currently running 24 hours between Lot 3 on campus and 4th Street Commons, and more shuttles are being added as needed. In an email sent Tuesday afternoon, FIU asks students to be patient as the shuttles may be delayed from slow traffic around campus.
UBER is also offering 50 percent off Uber POOL or Express POOL trips to and from MMC until Tuesday, March 27. Use the code FIUCOMMUTE.
Feature Image depicts 8th St. when the rubble of the collapsed bridge was removed but the road was still closed. Photo by Michelle Marchante/News Director.