University shares plan for upcoming transportation projects

By 2020, 8th street will feature bus-only and bicycle-only lanes.

FIU is putting the pedal to the metal to make transportation more convenient for visitors to FIU and the residents of Sweetwater.

The Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works is collaborating with FIU to establish the Panther Bus Station at PG-6.

The SR 836 Express Bus Service will run a bus directly from the Modesto Maidique Campus to Miami Intermodal Center at Miami International Airport, where commuters can catch the Metrorail.

Kenneth Jessell, chief financial officer and vice president for Financial Affairs, has played a huge role in the development of the Panther Station.

“PG-6 was designed for this transit. It’s not just chance that the garage is available. It was planned from the beginning to accommodate the transit,” Jessell says.

The bus station will host FIU, county and community buses at this designated area.

The station will be decked with kiosks, a retail area and ticket vending machines and will also offer complimentary WIFI. Display screens with upcoming bus times will be used to notify passengers of the bus arrivals. The Panther bus will run on a 20-minute interval. In addition, there will be outdoor seating with radiant LED night lighting and a lobby area.

Road work on SW 8th street is also in the plan of the project. There will be a color-coded red bus lane and a green bicycle lane. The buses will have signal priority, using high technology and traffic signals to grant buses right of way to turn without the interference of traffic.

This project coincides with the University City Prosperity Project, a $15 million project that intends to construct a pedestrian bridge that will run from PG-4 and across 8th street.

“We are bridge builders at FIU. This station and the pedestrian crossing bridge speaks to our desire to bring alliances with the community and keep our university open to the community,” says President Mark B. Rosenberg.

This project is expected to create a central point where everything is more easily accessible to the community.

“Certainly, this is the opportunity for us to be at the forefront of quality public transportation that will serve our faculty students, staff and visitors,” says Jessell. “Our vision is like a grand central station of New York but only better, Miami style.”

Construction on the bus station is expected to begin in December 2018 with anticipated bus service beginning in June 2020. The pedestrian bridge is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018.