Currently viewing the tag: "FIU"

It’s no secret that TransitMiami is opposed to the expansion of highways in our community.

Still, we like to understand how they work, and the applied engineering science that goes into measuring their structural performance.

Florida International University produced a fascinating video describing the work of some of its faculty and students from the Lehman Center for Transportation Research.

FIU professors and graduate students talk about their efforts to monitor MDX’s under-construction 836 (Dolphin) / 826 (Palmetto) highway interchange with specially-designed sensors measuring the shrinkage and strain on the concrete over time.

Just imagine if we invested the same kind of money and science into expanding and improving our public transportation rail network!

 

 

Florida International University’s Metropolitan Center is seeking community input regarding FIU’s 2005-2015 Campus Master Plan. The center is soliciting feedback as part of its evaluation of the plan.

Dario Gonzalez, a research associate with the center, has set up a Facebook discussion board to encourage an open exchange on this plan and to help develop and identify major issues, http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=19278722584&topic=16413
This discussion board will encourage comments on a new topic every few days. Gonzalez will also post related questions concerning the topic.

The Campus Master Plan provides a vision for the future development of the university and reflects the planned growth of the physical spaces at Biscayne Bay Campus, the Engineering Center and Modesto A. Maidique Campus. Metropolitan Center researchers are tasked with determining, in part, its efficacy.

“We’re working closely with the university’s Worlds Ahead Strategic Plan as part of this process,” says Gonzalez. “Now that the strategic plan has set the goals for the university, we need to make sure that the Campus Master Plan will take us there.”

“Comments can begin their own conversations. As long as they’re relevant to the topic, we encourage them,” says Gonzalez. “The goal is to inform and be informed by the FIU community.”

The first topic for discussion is housing. FIU currently houses close to 10 percent of full-time students on-campus. The number of full-time students is projected to grow by 5-6 percent annually for the next decade. Currently, the Campus Master Plan has a goal of providing housing for nearly 7,000 students by 2015. Gonzalez wants your perspective on this question: What obstacles could keep FIU from reaching this goal?

Gonzalez says every comment will be noted. Later, the comments are grouped by theme. After that, personal interviews with university leaders will be conducted. The feedback will culminate in an urban studio scheduled tentatively for fall 2011 that will be open to everyone.

In addition to Facebook, you may leave comments at the end of this news post that pertain to this discussion.

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Google Street-View Bike - photo by Daniel M. Perez

Two weeks ago, the Google street-view bicycle was in town, visiting both campuses of Florida International University (Modesto Maidique Campus in Westchester, and Biscayne Bay Campus in North Miami Beach). While some areas of both campuses can already be seen in Google Maps’ street-view feature, the bike was taking photographic data to complete the view of everything in between the main streets crisscrossing the campuses. We’ll keep an eye on Google Maps to see when these new views show up and let you know. Thanks to the person responsible for getting the Google Street-View Team down here (I know who it was but I don’t know he wishes his identity to be made public).

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Hi, I read Transit Miami daily, and I know you guys take suggestions for ideas for the blog. I was thinking TM could write something about bikes lanes at our local universities (most notable FIU and UM which have large biking populations). I’m a bicyclist at FIU, and I just recently wrote to our Facilities Department about the lack of bike lanes on campus, and the limited bike parking in many of our campus buildings, despite the large biking population.

Many buildings on campus, don’t have enough parking for the amount of bicyclists on campus. Some buildings, like the School of Architecture Building, and the Engineering and Computer Sciences Building, don’t even have bike parking, so people are forced to park their bikes on stairwells, handrails, and poles, making it dangerous for people walking around. Other buildings, like the Graham Center, the university’s student union, and Green Library, FIU’s main library, don’t have enough bike parking, and bikes are often crammed together or locked to tables, and handrails since there simply isn’t enough parking. An article on these problems at FIU, and possibly similar scenarios at other local universities could prove very educational and helpful for TM. Thank you!

-Kevin

Thanks Kevin. I think your observations on the lack of facilities at FIU is a perfect start on the subject. The least that local universities can do as part of their responsibility in providing safe and convenient transportation around campus is  by providing basic infrastructure like bike racks around campus. This is only a start, and should be as important to the university as providing lavish amounts of surface parking around its campus.

Does anyone else have suggestions for FIU or UM - or Miami-Dade College or FAU or Barry?

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The Miami Herald’s website is reporting that Florida International University is adopting four-day work weeks for most of its employees this summer, in order to save money on electricity by closing many of its buildings one day per week.  Employees will still be required to work the requisite 40 hours each week, but will do so over four days, rather than five, thus allowing buildings to idle for three consecutive days rather than two.  The move, Modesto Maidique, FIU’s president suggests, will save the university $250,000.

Because they are my employer, I can state unequivocally that not all employees are happy with this arrangement; however, many of us are happy that we won’t be spending some of our hard-earned money on gas for our commute for that fifth day of the week. 

It would be interesting to see what might happen to the price of gasoline if this work calendar were adopted by employers across the board.  To be sure, the resulting price drop wouldn’t be 20% (the theoretical amount of gas saved, if everyone were to merely stay home on that day), but it would be interesting, would it not, to see what the oil companies would do were the typical commuter’s consumption reduced instantaneously by 20%?

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It somehow always seems that when Transit/Development news flares up, so do events in our personal lives. In any case, here are some of the top news stories this week, some of which we’ll get around to commenting on:

Local:

  • The next phase of the Metrorail extension hasn’t even broken ground and already the cost overruns have begun. This time Parson’s is looking for an additional $13 million in “Consultant fees.” I’m not specifically implicating that Parsons has something to do with this, but, I find it intriguing that nearly every project they’ve worked on locally (Miami Intermodal Center, MIA North Terminal, MIA South Terminal, PAC, Boston’s Big Dig, etc.) has come in way over budget. Is there something we don’t know, or is it really that easy to bilk the county out of money once you’re hired to do contracting/engineering/management work? I guess choosing the French construction giant Bouygues Travaux Publics, wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
  • Top issues for Kendall this year? Forget Cityhood, how about congestion, lots of it. It’s only getting worse too as years pass and opportunities for real transit come and go (Tri-Rail Kendall link anyone?) If the Kendall community fears Tri-Rail trains traveling down an existing ROW behind their houses or an “unsightly” elevated rail down Kendall drive is going to lower their property values, just wait and see the nose dive congestion will cause. At least the recent efforts have paused (momentarily) foolish FDOT hopes of expanding Killian to 6 lanes west of 137th Avenue. Perhaps Kendall residents are beginning to realize that the car isn’t a viable solution…
  • Like him or not, Manny Diaz has a Vision. We’ll dig into this much more in depth soon…
  • I’m liking the looks of a final panel report on the UDB. Key part of this would require 3/4 of commissioners to move the line for projects and would bring in an outside firm to redraw the line.
  • Live Nation is set to bring yet more events to Bayfront Park. Can’t a Park just be a Park? I’m not arguing against the Museums, those are neccessary, but why does Bayfront need so many attractions to make it successful? I think the park would induce more local use if there was less cement and far more shade trees, just a thought…
  • The Federal DOT has given MDT a grant to purchase 16 hybrid express buses for the new HOT lane project on I-95. The buses will travel from downtown Miami to Ft. Lauderdale. Now can we please modernize the system and implement farecards (and new machines) that are transferable on all 3 local agencies?
  • Don’t ride Transit, Buy a BMW…No seriously, Norman Braman wants you to buy a BMW and skip out on urban life…Oh, more on this soon…However, please follow this link for some laughable signs of hypocrisy…
  • Gasp! This first paragraph says it all: “The [Palmetto Bay] Village Council approved a special permit allowing a new commercial development to put all of its parking spaces on the street at a zoning hearing Monday.” Note: A special permit. I know this is a young, incorporated bedroom community and all, but seriously, can we get some logical planning oversight around there? (In Case you missed it, we’re glad to see the use of on street parking in this and other bedroom communities…This shouldn’t be a special instance, but, rather the norm….)
  • Watering rules in effect now till forever. Green lawns aren’t a necessity folks…
National:
  • Cape Cod wind farm moves one crucial step closer to disturbing a bunch of rich folks’ “pristine” views…
  • Northern Virginia (and Atlanta) is getting closer to funding a new streetcar. Not enough BMW dealers in the area I guess…

The reoccurring theme lately has become centralized on the opinion of the public with regards to community projects. Community involvement opposition recently has driven many projects in directions that most city planners/urban developers would not necessarily agree with and Sweetwater is no exception. The architecture department at Florida International University has created a master plan to help transform Sweetwater from just another suburban residential enclave to a self sustainable college town that together with the university can continue to grow mutually to serve all area residents needs. Needless to say, the city opposes any change, especially change that could involve bringing the metrorail into their area.

Given the ridiculous opposition, one would assume that the FIU architecture department proposed to integrate mammoth sized buildings in the single family home neighborhood. However, the FIU plan would begin to slowly transform Sweetwater to better suit it and the college, by providing a sort of center where denser housing, government jobs, public services, and parks would be located. The growth would help to sustain the city tax base and would be a boon to the local residents by drastically improving the connection between the school and the city. It would also help minimize the impact of metrorail on the surroundings by creating a more densely urbanized area where the train would arrive.

The fact of the matter is that Miami residents seem very opposed to change. Understandably, most people do not trust the local government entities to make sound decisions on growth and development in the area given the track record of abuse by developers and city/county officials. I’m certain, however, that with the aide of the University’s school of Architecture, the city residents could work together with planners to lay a better foundation and identity for their city…

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