Reopen BBC access road: A matter of safety for more than 10,000 students, faculty and staff

Approximately 7,000 students, faculty and staff at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus share one access road with more than 3,000 public school students and teachers, whose schools – Alonzo and Tracy Mourning High School and David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Center – are positioned along NE 151 Street, the only access road to the campus. The situation is particularly precarious during drop-off and pick-up times when school buses and parents in private vehicles are in the area. In addition, the FIU campus is home to MAST@FIU, a public high school.

FIU has been calling attention to the access road issue since 2011 by engaging Miami-Dade County and North Miami elected officials, as well as School Board members and Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools Alberto M. Carvalho, who supports the reopening of the road. The university is pleased to be working with state legislators to reopen the road, creating a second access point to our Biscayne Bay Campus in North Miami, through NE 135 Street. In the past, NE 135th Street was an access point to campus. For years it has been closed to vehicular traffic and used as a walking and bike path by local residents.

Many of the students, faculty and staff who study and work in the area are North Miami residents themselves. The number of North Miami residents enrolled at FIU has grown by 33 percent since 2009 and receive approximately $10 million in financial aid and scholarships.

A second access road is imperative to ensure safety and prompt evacuation of students, faculty and staff in the event of an emergency, especially in light of residential and commercial growth near the existing access road. Equally important: The current road only offers one access point for first responders.

Opening an additional entry and exit point could prevent a real tragedy during a fire, bomb threat, active shooter event or other emergency at any of the campuses in the area. FIU needs the community’s support to maintain a safe learning environment for students of all ages.