Currently viewing the tag: "UM"

Metrorail riders beware! There seems to be a criminal on the loose targeting unsuspecting passengers! This just in from the University of Miami police department:

CRIME ADVISORY

April 26, 2012

Event Description: Serial Robber Targeting Metrorail Riders

Campus police and security have received information about a serial robber who has targeted Metorail riders. One victim boarded a northbound train from the University Metrorail station.  The offender, whose picture and description appears below, sits next to passengers shortly before a stop, brandishes a firearm and demands property from his victims.  If you see the subject, avoid him and call police immediately.

This information is being provided to help keep our communities informed and safe.

SUBJECT INFORMATION: Black Male, 6’0” to 6’2” tall, about 180 pounds, no facial hair, and has a short haircut.  He has consistently worn dark suit pants and a vest (presumed to conceal a firearm).  He has also worn a light tan sport jacket, as in the picture. If you see the subject at other rail stops call 911 and/or report the subject to on duty security.

Anyone with information regarding this crime or information that may lead to the apprehension of this individual is asked to call:

  • MDT DISPATCH CENTER: 305 375-2700  or
  • CRIMESTOPPERS: 305 471-TIPS (8477)

Callers will remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward.

As regular Metrorail riders know, the train is a safe, efficient, stress-free, and pleasant way to get around town (at least certain parts of town). Don’t be discouraged by this isolated incident by some goon trying to disturb the peace typically found on our Metrorail.

The incident conveyed in the above crime advisory got me thinking about the unnarmed volunteer group founded in New York City, the Guardian Angels.  By the late 1970s, conditions on the NYC subway system had gotten pretty rough, and a group of citizens got together to provide a sense of security for the passengers on the trains. 

Back in the day, the Guardian Angels made their presence known on the NYC subway system.

For the most part, crime on our Miami Metrorail is not common. Furthermore, whatever minimal criminality does manifest on our public transportation system is nowhere near the scale of that in NYC a few decades ago.

In any case, be viligant out there folks. The Metrorail belongs to us, the people, not some thug with a gun.

 

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A University of Miami student, struck by a hit-and-run driver 10 days ago, has reportedly died of his injuries. The Miami herald reports:

Jared Paul Jones, a 21-year-old English major from Maryland, was pronounced dead about 2 a.m. by doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Coral Gables police spokeswoman Kelly Denham said. He had been in a coma after suffering severe head trauma in the accident at 7:20 p.m. on Nov. 13.

Jones was struck by a vehicle traveling northbound on SW 57th Avenue (Red Road, SR959) at the intersection with Blue Rd (SW 48 Street) in Coral Gables. The FDOT maintained segment of  the roadway stretches from the Dolphin Expressway south through Coral Gables and South Miami. While little details regarding the actual crash have emerged, it begs the question that if the FDOT had adopted and implemented a Complete Streets Policy that would help slow vehicles, placing pedestrians and cyclists on more equal footing, could accidents like these be avoided?

Let’s take a look at the conditions Jones was faced with as a Pedestrian attempting to cross SR959.

A Google street-view of of the southwest corner of SR 959 and Blue Road depicts a wide radius curve, a common engineering practice intended to facilitate the right turn movements of cars at higher velocities. A narrow curb radii, forces drivers to slow down, backing up traffic and reducing the number of cars that can turn during the signal cycle. Remember - this road was designed by a traffic engineer with one goal - to maximize the efficiency of the facility for vehicles. Discouraging pedestrians through design, reduces the number of pedestrians and thus the need to plan and design for their needs accordingly.

The crosswalks, faded and incomplete, connect poorly with the sidewalks themselves, leaving pedestrians to cut through a dirt or grass patch in order to cross - these certainly don’t meet today’s ADA accepted practices. The street-view also shows something curious - note the cyclist headed northbound on the sidewalk. SR959, a mere two-lane undivided facility at this stretch, is far too dangerous for cyclists - relegating them to ride on the sidewalk. The posted speed limit through this residential street is 40 mph. How many of us would let your kids walk to school through this intersection? David Fairchild Elementary School is located a mere four blocks north - I don’t expect that many kids walk to ride back to school daily - the street-scape discourages  healthy, active modes of transportation such as cycling and walking.

Looking east of SR959 along Blue Road, we see that sidewalks cease to exist, leaving pedestrians to fend for themselves crossing through lawns and driveways or even worse, the roadway itself.  The posted speed limit here is 30 mph.

An aerial view of the intersection depicts a curious bump-out on the southeast corner of the intersection. This sliver of pavement facilitates right turn movements, enabling vehicles to make this maneuver at a higher velocity. Its all about how many cars we can move through the intersection, little tricks like these help engineers improve the facility’s level-of-service (LOS) to an “acceptable” value at the expense of the pedestrian and cycling realm.

How do you like that bus stop placement too? Transit is clearly a priority here. Its no wonder why the route 57 metrobus has such dismal ridership (according to the July 2010 technical report this route carries only 643 daily riders).  And, as the CNT H+T affordability index reports residents of this region expend 20% to 28% of household income on transportation, emit 20 to 30 Metric Tons of CO2 per acre, drive 14,000 to 16,000 miles annually, and spend 25 to 29 Minutes getting to work each day. The picture below of a stop south of the intersection captures the effect this incomplete street has on transit. Nothing could be more pleasant than than trekking through the grass to wait for a bus that comes every 40 minutes at best.

While I digressed on that last point - I want to convey that street design (or lack-thereof) is strongly correlated to our behavior, modal choice, living expenses, and environmental/health effects. Every single element of this street is designed to be an obstacle to anyone not traveling in a personal vehicle. Unfortunately, Jared Paul Jones paid the ultimate price.Could a complete street policy have saved Jones? Perhaps. Can we do more to make this street and other like it throughout the state more suitable for all forms of transportation? Certainly.

The image below depicts what a more such a facility could look like here on SR959.

Image Source: transitcenter.com

Has the time come for a complete streets policy at all levels of government? I think so. I’ll be paying a visit to this intersection in person this week and will continue documenting the aspects that make this such an inhospitable place for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users alike. Stay Tuned.

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The University of Miami is making a crucial investment in Miami’s Health District, expanding current facilities as it looks towards building a 1.4 million square foot life sciences research park. The new research center, pictured above, is a crucial part of Miami’s continued economic growth and diversity. The facility will serve as a catalyst for the Bioscience community while creating a wide variety of well paying jobs. This is certainly the type of growth our city needs.

“Life science companies such as Schering-Plough, Boston Scientific, Beckman Coulter, Cordis, Noven Pharmaceuticals and others contribute to the biotech economy in the county, said Beacon Council President and CEO Frank Nero. About 17,000 people are employed by more than 1,400 life sciences companies in the county, which contributes about $2.3 billion in total annual revenue, according to the Beacon Council.”

Private investment will flock around the Miami research facilities creating a local hub for biological, pharmaceutical, and chemical research. Our community now needs to take the necessary steps to integrate our up and coming facilities with the surroundings; by providing adequate rail connections to the surrounding neighborhoods with the Miami streetcar, easy access to the FAU Scripps research facility in Palm Beach, and creating affordable and accessible housing. Braman can moan all he wants about spending taxpayer money on infrastructural upgrades, but without these crucial forms of transit, the Health district and much of Miami will never reach their full potential.

Um is also planning on restoring one of Miami’s oldest structures, Halissee Hall, to its former grandeur. Originally constructed in 1914 by John Sewell a Miami pioneer and former mayor, the house will be home to the School of Medicine’s Faculty Club and will host receptions, conferences and lectures.

“Sandwiched between Highland Park and the Golf Links is a massive stone building, the residence of John Sewell, shoe salesman and the third mayor of Miami. Started on July 20, 1913 it was situated on the highest elevation in the City of Miami. Sewell called his home Halissee Hall [locator], “Halissee” being the Seminole word for “New moon.” In his book, Miami Memoirs, Sewell writes that Halissee Hall was built with “boulder rock grubbed up on the hill” with which he built “the best home in Florida, not the most expensive, but the best home, with eighteen-inch walls of solid stone and cement, three stories high, with a half-acre of floor space.” The original entrance to Halissee Hall, two pillars, can be seen just south of the 836 Expressway near NW 10th Avenue.”

UM could learn from MIT, who over the past decades purchased the land immediately surrounding the campus and constructed offices building to lease back to private companies. Industry soon moved into the area to harvest the brainpower of the faculty and utilize the resources of the student body.

The Coral Gables Gazette recently published a troubling article on a trolley study conducted by the University of Miami’s Industrial Engineering department. Troubling not because of the results of the study but because of how ridiculously logical the conclusions were. The simplicity can be summed up best by the CGG’s article title: New study: Trolley saves 712 parking space per day. You don’t say? Transit actually reduces the number of parking spaces needed in an urban area, what’s next, you’re going to suggest transit reduces congestion?

Engineering, calculates that the trolley saves the city 712 parking spaces a day and reduces the amount of vehicle traffic along the route by 1.2 million miles a year.

Gasp! Obviously we’re floored that this can still be considered newsworthy and is typically not common knowledge. Coral Gables commissioners are considering affixing a charge to ride the system which is currently free. Not all city commissioners appear to be happy with the success:

[Commissioner Ralph] Cabrera also reiterated past complaints that the trolley system had evolved from its original purpose as a downtown circulator into more of a connector between county mass transit systems.

Who cares as long as the system effectively reduces congestion in the Coral Gables Downtown Core? Since the city is unwilling to reduce the parking requirements for buildings to begin with, we might as well reduce the need for all the parking being built anyway. Although I agree MDT should do more to help the city transit service, axing the project would cause too many problems. At least someone sees the benefits brought forth by the system:

[Vice Mayor William] Kerdyk said that the independent study, which he points out that he didn’t even commission, should erase any doubts to the effectiveness and importance of the system although he wasn’t sure that questions regarding budgeting for the trolley system would go away as a result of the study.

If you are a hurricane fan, turn away; this article isn’t for the feint of heart. I’m going to try and put my Gator sentiments aside as I write this, but I can’t guarantee there won’t be any bias. I went to the Hurricane-Georgia Tech game last weekend in the orange bowl to bid my own personal farewell to the iconic venue. Although I wasn’t there for the game, more so to take in the sights, sounds, and experience, I couldn’t help but find myself rooting for the home team. The game is beside the point, as an engineer and someone who cares about the social aspects of the OB, I was there more for the atmosphere than anything else.

To state it plainly, I can clearly see why the decision was made to move the hurricanes from the OB to that stadium up north (which changes names every month or so…) The OB is a worn down venue, clearly lacking the infrastructure to support a college team as the once almighty U. The bathrooms are unkempt, the alumni skyboxes are inexistent, and the whole place appears to be crumbling to pieces; all of which reflect poorly on the city with regards to effective maintenance and refurbishment. Like the Miami Marine Stadium, it was almost as if they were hoping it would fall apart on its own to give enough of valid reason to reinvent a new use for the property.

However, the OB still offers the University an intangible benefit that the $1 Million or so they will gain from moving up north just can’t buy: tradition. Experiencing a game like this now after I have experienced games in “real” college venues (notice the quotes, don’t take it as an insult) is a shock. I now fully understand why UM so easily turned its back on “tradition” and chose to move to a slightly more profitable venue: because UM simply has no tradition. Go ahead and argue my point, but the tunnel and C.A.N.E.S. Canes! simply don’t qualify…The atmosphere in the stadium was insipid; the crowd lacked the spirit and comradery that nearly any other university has to offer (don’t blame it on the small college town/big city differences.) The stadium was unusually quiet when the defense was on the field; at times it seemed like my UF and FSU friends were the only one making noise.

Overall I can’t help but feel for the venue that could have been; there is too much history, too many wide rights to simply watch this place fall to pieces. Visiting and experiencing the OB one last time has given me a new perspective on UM’s decisions, however, it only made me further question the direction of the city and the reasoning for constructing another stadium in this neighborhood…With regards to tradition; I’ll let you know how things go this weekend in Tallahassee, I can guarantee a huge difference…

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I was driving by the Douglas Road pedestrian overpass last weekend when I noticed that the fence designed to “force” people into using the overpass still hadn’t been fixed after an accident partially destroyed it last summer. Interestingly enough, a new path has formed in the grass and once again there are people darting across this treacherous stretch, rather than climbing the flight of stairs or using the elevator. We analyzed this particular overpass a year ago.

Meanwhile plans to build a third US-1 pedestrian overpass adjacent to the UM Metrorail station are currently underway. The Miami Today News Reports:

The meeting is 4-7:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Holiday Inn University of Miami, 1350 S. Dixie Hwy in Coral Gables. Free hotel parking is available.

Free Hotel Parking? Yes, let’s drive to a planning meeting designed to build better facilities for walking. This doesn’t make any sense… I came up with a visual as to how close this meeting will be to the Metrorail:

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There is a great read today up on the MiamiHerald by Larry Lebowitz titled: Why OB is a Lousy Site for Marlins. Take a second a check it out, he voices many of the same positions we’ve been pushing here on Transit Miami… An excerpt:

Tri-Rail isn’t much of an option. It’s a pain to get from the Miami Airport Station to the Orange Bowl today. Even if Miami-Dade Transit created a straight-shot, game-day shuttle from the Tri-Rail station to the OB, how many baseball fans to the north would use it?

Metrorail will only appeal to hard-core urban dwellers. It’s a little over a mile — too far to walk for most pampered, crime-fearing locals — from the closest Metrorail stations on the north side of the river to the Orange Bowl.

Barring some unlikely seismic political changes at County Hall, no one will be trying to shift billions of transit dollars to expand Metrorail near the OB in the near future.

What about a streetcar that could shuttle fans from downtown transit hubs?

Right now, Miami Mayor Manny Diaz can’t muster a three-vote majority of commissioners to support a streetcar in downtown, Wynwood, the Design District and Allapattah — all on the opposite side of the river from the stadium.

A ballpark in downtown would be closer to I-95, Metrorail, Metromover, and a proposed light-rail system on the Florida East Coast corridor that one day could shuttle fans from Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

The economics and politics might be tougher, but an accessible, pedestrian-friendly downtown stadium makes the most sense.

-Larry Lebowitz

August 21, 2007

To the University Community:

We have an extraordinary history and tradition at the Orange Bowl: The players running through the smoke tunnel. “Touchdown Tommy” and his cannon. The Ring of Honor. An incredible winning streak of 58 consecutive home wins. And three of our five national championships were won on that field. I love the Orange Bowl—we all do!

As many of you are aware, the University has been working closely with the City of Miami to assess the feasibility of making much-needed renovations to the Orange Bowl. It has long been our goal to have a first-class football stadium.

The City of Miami has been a wonderful partner with us at the Orange Bowl for many years, and they understand how hard we have wrestled with a very difficult decision. Mayor Manny Diaz has been heroic in his efforts to meet our future needs. After much thought, analysis, and discussions with many, many of our trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and fans, we have concluded that we must move our football games to a better facility. The more than $200 million in renovations that the city has proposed would only provide basic and mostly infrastructural upgrades. A part of those funds are not in hand and may or may not be determined until after the proposed construction would be well underway. Overall, the renovations clearly would not address the long-term needs of our athletes and our fans.

The Orange Bowl chapter of our history—in which we can all take great pride—will never close, and we are confident that the legacy of Miami Hurricanes football will live on and thrive as we move to a new location. After an assessment of all options available to us, we have decided reluctantly and painfully to move to Dolphin Stadium for the 2008 season.

Dolphin Stadium is one of the premier football stadiums in the country. At our new home, our student-athletes will have the opportunity to compete in a first-class facility that plays host to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, the FedEx Orange Bowl, BCS National Championship Game, and that has been the site of recent and upcoming Super Bowls.

Our fans will experience outstanding amenities including one of the world’s largest plasma TV displays, high-definition video boards, club seating and suites, chairbacks on every stadium seat, approximately 14,000 parking spaces, and a large variety of concessions and restaurants.

The end zones will be redone so that our shared home will reflect both Miami teams’ pride. The Dolphins are actively pursuing a corporate sponsor so that by 2010 the stadium will have a neutral name.

I want to assure all members of our University community—students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, donors, friends—and the tens of thousands of fans who regularly cheer us on, that we looked exhaustively into every aspect of the choices in front of us, and that your needs figured prominently in our final decision. The quality of your experience at our games is of the utmost importance to us.

As always, we would like to hear from you. Please contact us at an e-mail address we have established for your comments: umfootball@miami.edu. If you have any further questions, please go to the Official Athletic Department Web site at hurricanesports.com or call 1-800-GO-CANES.

Thank you, and Go ’Canes!

Sincerely,
Donna E. Shalala

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It’s a sad day for Miami; a loss for our sports history, the loss of a national icon, it’s the end of an era. The University of Miami has committed a grave miscalculation today. Giving up the Orange Bowl for the sake of what will ultimately become a pittance in increased revenue will prove catastrophic. You don’t trade in years of tradition on a whim (they don’t come back so quickly either.) I’m not a hurricane, in fact far from it, I’ll be there at Joe Robbie (I’m going back to its original name seeing that Huizenga announced an upcoming name change again) in 2008 cheering on my beloved Gators. But if there is one piece of advice I could extend to the University of Miami, it’s that you should never underestimate the power of tradition and the home-field advantage of a raucous crowd. The stands of Joe Robbie will barely quiver. The 76,500 seat stadium will appear cavernous and the once venerable Miami Hurricane Venue will no longer serve as a source of agony for opponents.

What’s more, with the loss of the UM presence at the Orange Bowl, the venue will no longer serve a useful purpose since its inception in 1936. Already discussions are underway to tear down the legendary stadium and construct a new home for the Marlins. I cannot begin to explain how terrible of a location this would be for such a demanding scheduled sport such as baseball. Conveniently isolated from urban transit and existing downtown parking facilities, the new ballpark would be secluded in a predominantly residential neighborhood. Close enough to entice downtown workers to want to attend games, but just far enough from preventing them from walking down the street or hopping on the Metromover. Plans aren’t even on the drawing boards to bring reliable transit into the area anytime soon and I can imagine any further Miami Streetcar plans would be sabotaged. We’ll be left with a massive new stadium for the Marlins, accessible only by vehicle and surrounded by suburban like structures. Continuing our legacy of urban planning disasters built by politicians with no legitimate foresight…

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“PEDESTRIAN POSSIBILITIES: Miami-Dade Transit is to hold a July 26 public meeting for discussion of a pedestrian overpass over US 1 at the University Metrorail Station. An overpass would be funded by the county’s half-penny sales tax and would feature elevators, stairs and landscaping. The open house and presentation are set for 4-7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn University of Miami, Alhambra Meeting Room, 1350 S. Dixie Highway. Details: (305) 375-5453 or mdtoutreach@miamidade.gov.”

Via -Miami Today News

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One of our dedicated readers, Carolyn, informed me of an interesting lecture coming up in Miami:
The U.S. Green Building Council South Florida Chapter and University of Miami School of Architecture present:

MARCH 21
MIAMI STREET CAR UPDATE
7 pm. Refreshments at 6:30 pm, Jorge M. Perez Architecture Center Stanley and Jewell Glasgow Lecture Hall, Dickinson Drive, University of Miami, Coral Gables Campus. and open to the public.

Mary Conway, P.E., Chief of Operations, City of Miami

In recent years, the City of Miami has seen an unprecedented wave of urban infill and redevelopment in a compressed downtown core area, and in adjacent neighborhoods. Miami Streetcar Project has emerged as one essential component of a transportation network that will entice Miami motorists out of their cars, into convenient mass transit, and onto city (and County) streets. Miami Streetcar Project is a direct response to the challenge to provide improved mobility options for users of the transportation network throughout the downtown core. This presentation provides an update on the Miami Streetcar Project, and an overview of the roles that streetcar systems play in shaping cities, by fostering pedestrian-friendly urban environments, and re-invigorated downtowns across the United States. This affordable mode of mass transit is emerging as an increasingly popular application, because of its cost-effective and time-efficient construction, its financial affordability, and its ready adaptability to active pedestrian-focused environments. City of Miami has responded to the local mobility challenge by pursuing multi-agency partnerships and innovative project delivery methods to build the single transit investment that could make a profound difference in re-shaping downtown Miami, in record time.

Mary H. Conway, P.E., currently serves as the Chief of Operations for the City of Miami and is a prominent Civil Engineer and Project Manager with more than 18 years of experience in the industry. studied briefly at Harvard University and the United States Naval Academy before earning a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Miami. was the recipient of the “Most Outstanding Civil Engineering Graduate” award from University of Miami as well as a member of Tau Beta Pi and Chi Epsilon, engineering honor societies. Prior to joining the City, Mary worked with the Florida Department of Transportation for over 10 years, where she oversaw major transportation projects in Miami-Dade County as well Broward to Indian River Counties. She also worked with FPL as a service planner and Beiswenger, Hoch and Associates as a production and project manager. served as Director for the City of Miami Capital Improvements and Transportation (CIT) Department for approximately two years. Mary’s hard work and results were recognized and she was promoted to Chief of Operations and is now responsible for overseeing the following Departments: Parks and Recreation, Solid Waste, General Services Administration (GSA), Public Works and CIT. Mary has also continued her involvement with CIT,responsible for overseeing the planning, coordination,implementation and monitoring of all construction related capital projects and transportation projects in the City of Miami. projects include street infrastructure and flood mitigation; park improvements; public facilities including fire stations, police and other city buildings; marinas; the Orange Bowl; and a state of the art urban streetcar transit circulator project. City’s current Capital Improvement and Multi-year plan encompasses over 1100 projects valued at over $675,000,000 through the year 2010 and will certainly increase as Miami continues to grow. experience, professionalism, dedication and drive have earned her the respect of her peers in the City, with other government agencies and within the engineering community at large.

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