Funds approved for San Amaro Drive safety project

Two months after a University of Miami student was hit by a car while crossing San Amaro Drive, the school has approved funding for the pre-design of a safety project for the road.

According to Student Government President Alessandria San Roman and President-Elect Brianna Hathaway, the project will look at possible safety measures for the road, including elevated and illuminated crosswalks.

Hathaway is a member of the San Amaro Ad Hoc Committee, a group that analyzes safety conditions on the road. She is excited to see progress.

“I’m glad that actual progress has been officially announced, because student safety and safety of the UM community specifically in that area need to be a priority,” she said.

The road has been a safety concern for more than a decade.

In 2002, construction tightened and narrowed the turns of the road to naturally slow down traffic, while also adding a larger traffic circle, according to a report from The Miami Hurricane.

But in 2010, 19-year-old student Taylor William Emmons was killed when a car hit him while crossing the street.

In February, Matthew Wisehaupt was crossing San Amaro Drive and Albenga Avenue when a car struck him. Crosswalks, sidewalks and stop signs line the road, but there is continual worry about the high speed of cars on the road.

Two years ago, the committee conducted a study on the safety of the road to look at ways to make it safer. The road separates the University Village housing complex and fraternity houses from the north side of the Coral Gables campus.

San Roman cited the safety on San Amaro as a concern of hers when running last year, and Hathaway told The Miami Hurricane in March that the safety on the road would be important to her administration.

Vice President Willie Herrera created the committee in 2013 when he was speaker of the Senate. He said he is glad to see progress being made.

“We are just happy that everyone is making this a priority,” he said. “When everyone is on the same page and has one goal, its chances of being achieved are so much higher.”

While there will be more obstacles to overcome before tangible changes are made, San Roman believes the approval of funding is a step forward.

“There has always been a conversation about it, but not enough action until now,” she said. “San Amaro is not a university road, but the City of Coral Gables and Mayor Cason are definitely on board with us and have been working with us to help make the area safer.”

Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Whitely said the school is excited to help improve safety there.

“The news is certainly exciting,” she said. “The project is important given the number of students living in the UV, fraternity houses, Red Road and the neighborhood that cross San Amaro daily.”