Dean Keeton

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rosales and Partners

Last month, the Moody College of Communication announced the designs for a new bridge to connect the CMA, CMB and the Belo Center for New Media. The costs of the bridge will be paid by a portion of an endowment of $50 million provided by the Moody Foundation last year. This endowment is the largest given to a public university for the study of communication in the nation. In addition to helping pay for the bridge, it will also establish a fund for departmental development ideas, as well as help pay for graduate student recruitment and retention, and department endowments.

While I am not a student of the college and will have graduated by the completion of the bridge next fall, I believe the connecting of the three communication buildings is an excellent idea.

During the cold winter months and blazing hot summer months, standing at the red light waiting to cross Dean Keeton isn’t fun, but it is necessary. Being able to simply cross a bridge above street level makes for a safer and faster alternative. Pedestrians walking or bicycling are normally safe, but being hit by a vehicle does occur around our campus. 

I’ve looked at the location that the bridge will span, and it almost appears the designers of the Belo Center planned for this bridge from its inception. The buildings align perfectly, and are high enough for traffic to pass through.

Some have argued the bridge will not be visually appealing, but in all honesty, nearly any bridge will look more appealing than the one down the road near Dean Keeton and Speedway currently connecting two engineering buildings. I do agree, however, that an enclosed walkway similar to the one connecting CMA and CMB would better suit this bridge, and be a more visually appealing design than the open-air design currently slated.

At this point, campus is surrounded on all sides, leaving little room for additional development. Additionally, buildings on campus are already closely concentrated. There simply is very little room for new construction of any sort, and money is constantly a topic of discussion.

Regardless, with the completion of the new bridge, students will have a safer, quicker and more efficient route between the communications buildings. Unfortunately, the only students who will really benefit from this construction are communication students. Perhaps there is another place on campus that can be connected via bridge to make crossing the street safer and quicker. While it may be impossible, I would love to see a bridge crossing the Drag for students coming from West Campus.

Daywalt is a government senior from Copperas Cove. 

Lawrence Deeter, Capital Metro transportation planner, discusses the Pickle Research Campus shuttle route at a public forum on campus Tuesday night. Starting in fall 2014, the route will make the transition to a MetroRapid route in order to improve travel times for students getting to campus. 

Photo Credit: Fabian Fernandez | Daily Texan Staff

Parking and Transportation Services and Capital Metro representatives discussed a proposal that would change the current Pickle Research Campus shuttle route to a MetroRapid route, at a public forum on campus Tuesday night. 

The PRC shuttle route, which connects the Pickle Research Campus and the main UT campus, currently has stops near the intersection of Dean Keeton and Whitis and the intersection of Dean Keeton and San Jacinto. Blanca Juarez, UT Parking and Transportation spokeswoman, said the route will be transitioned to the existing MetroRapid 803 route, which goes along Burnet Road and Lamar Boulevard.

CapMetro transportation planner Lawrence Deeter said the need for greater efficiency and lower costs prompted the shift to a MetroRapid route.

“[The new route] will improve reliability and increase days of operations,” Deeter said. “PRC is the lowest performing route right now, and we’ve trimmed it over the years because it has the lowest ridership.”

According to Juarez, the new route will run seven days a week, unlike the current UT shuttle route, which only runs Monday through Friday. Juarez said it will also run more frequently: about every 10-12 minutes during rush hour.

“PRC only operates about 12 hours a day and stops every 60 minutes,” Juarez said. “With the Metro route, there will be a lot more travel options to get to and from the two campuses.”    

Deeter said the new route will also include features not found on the UT shuttle buses, such as real-time arrival information, mobile ticketing and free onboard Wi-Fi.

Travel time from the research campus to the main campus would remain about the same compared to the PRC Shuttle and would be 20 percent faster than Route 3 Burnet/Manchaca, which also stops by the Pickle Research Campus, according to Deeter.

Deeter said one downside of the transition is that the new MetroRapid route locations require a greater walking distance down Dean Keeton than the old PRC stops did. 

“The rapid only stops on Guadalupe, and there’s two stations — one by the West Mall, and one by Dean Keeton — which means there’s about a six-minute walk,” Deeter said. 

Additionally, the new route will eliminate one stop on the north side of the Pickle campus, which could reduce access for students in that area, Deeter said.

Engineering researcher Rick Pastor said the change could prove problematic for some students who take the UT shuttle to get to West Pickle Campus.

“We teach a class out at West Pickle in the fall, and some students ride the PRC out there, and now they won’t be able to do that,” Pastor said. 

Belo Center project manager Pawn Chulavatr and workers install a newsbox outside of the Belo Center Thursday morning. The newstand will house six newpapers, including The Daily Texan, The Dallas Morning News and the Austin-American Statesman.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Notebook in one hand, morning coffee in the other, students can catch up on the news as they walk along Dean Keeton. Thanks to a new newspaper stand installed outside of the Belo Center for New Media, 8 a.m. classes just got more bearable.

The single newsstand, installed Thursday, is located at the main entrance and will hold six newspapers including The Daily Texan, The Dallas Morning News and the Austin American-Statesman, but the other three have not been determined by the College of Communication

Although Texas Student Media typically provides The Daily Texan’s news boxes free of charge, the Lawrence Group, the Belo Center’s architects, designed the newsstand, communication dean Roderick Hart said. The college is still awaiting the project invoice, although the estimated cost is $6,000. 

In September, the college denied a request by Wanda Cash, clinical journalism professor and assistant director of the School of Journalism, for Daily Texan news boxes in front of the Belo Center, where the journalism school is located. The college, which was aiming for a LEED silver certification, cited the boxes could create potential environmental concerns. The college later reversed its decision, planning to have a news box by November, after taking bids on designs to match the building. In December, the college told the Texan the box should be installed by the start of class Jan. 14.

Dean Hart said the college will also provide about 10 copies of the city newspapers for free daily.

“The whole point is to celebrate journalism,” Hart said. “We’re going to make them available at no cost, so students can pick them up in the morning. The idea is to try to stimulate people’s interest in newspapers.”

Cash said the news box will fit the needs of the students and the college by providing newspapers at the Belo Center, while maintaining the building’s sleek look with the newsstand.

“It’s great that the college responded to student concerns,” Cash said. “It will be nice to see a collective presentation of papers with one standard looking news box, fitting with the style of the building.”

Journalism lecturer Mark Morrison, who previously served as a Daily Texan editor and as a Texas Student Media board member, said the news boxes are long overdue.  

“It’ll be nice to see the boxes have a permanent home in the building,” Morrison said. “I’m glad to hear they’re finally getting around to installing the boxes after the delays last semester.”

Journalism junior Olivia Suarez said the newsstands are a good addition to the building, if the entrance stays clear of newspaper litter.

“As a journalism major, I feel it’s important to have easy access to the news, whether it be print or virtual,” Suarez said. “I remember last semester, I was confused as to why the CMA had plenty of boxes, while Belo lacked them. As long as the front area remains clean, I don’t see any inconvenience to their installation.”

Eagle Scout and former serviceman Patrick Clemens provided first aid to freshman Haifa Abubaker who was in a bike accident at Dean Keaton and Guadelupe last Wednesday. By using his belt as a tourniquet he was able to stabilize her until paramedics arrived.

Photo Credit: Allen Otto | Daily Texan Staff

A Boy Scout troop leader and former U.S. Army soldier likely saved the life of a UT student involved in a bicycle accident at the intersection of Guadalupe and Dean Keeton streets on the afternoon of June 27.

Patrick Clemens used his belt as a tourniquet to wrap the leg of nutrition freshman Haifa Abubaker after she and a CCI Manufacturing cement truck collided. Clemens’ training as a sergeant in the Army and as an Eagle Scout prepared him for the situation.

“There had to be 20 people out there and nobody was helping, nobody would touch her,” Clemens said.

When he heard the crash from the inside of the Jack in the Box where he was servicing the soda machine as a Coca-Cola technician, he turned to see Abubaker in the street after she was dragged 40 feet.

“It was in that moment that I truly felt called, and I heard a voice say ‘you can do this,’” Clemens said.

He then rushed to help Abubaker, who might have bled out otherwise.

“I had to keep pressure on the belt the entire time,” Clemens said. “I put her in the ambulance and she held my hands, and she didn’t want to let go. I told her I’d find her. After it was over I collapsed.”

Clemens said the afternoon of the accident and days following have been the most spiritual experience of his life. He has remained in close contact with the Abubakers and visited the hospital every day. He said the family, who lives in Pearland, near Houston, and is of Ethiopian decent, has “adopted” him. The family declined to comment on the incident.
She had her right leg amputated below the knee and is in fair condition, according to the University Medical Center Brackenridge.

The Austin Police Department considers the collision an accident and will not file criminal charges, said Austin Police Department spokesperson Cpl. Anthony Hipolito. It is unknown if Abubaker will press civil charges against the truck driver or CCI Management.

“It’s a tragedy, and we’re investigating it,” said Fred Coogan, an attorney representing the Abubaker family. “There are questions with regard to the accuracy of the police report.”

Arpeggio Grill, a restaurant near the intersection, has surveillance footage that owner Nasser Trosich said could be helpful in the different parties’ ongoing investigations. Trosich and his daughter Cassandra reviewed the blurry video on June 28 but are now having trouble accessing the file.

According to Nasser and Cassandra Trosich, the footage may contradict reports from APD officials who told The Daily Texan and other news organizations they believe Abubaker may have run a red light on her bicycle while the truck had a green light.

“All you see is a bike rolling and you see a huge concrete truck,” Cassandra Trosich said of the footage. “At 3:02 she’s going North bound on the edge of the street. He was going straight.”

Representatives from CCI Manufacturing did not return calls for comment.

In 2009, there were two collisions involving motor vehicles and bikes at the intersection of Guadalupe and Dean Keeton streets, according to APD. This is the first such incident since then.

“I just hope that the cyclists and the mopeds and the motorcycles look twice,” Clemens said. “Be safe. Look around, especially when there’s so many pedestrians and construction going on.”

Abubaker was planning to run a marathon this week. Instead, she is beginning to move her leg again, Clemens said. The troop leader trembled and tried to hold back tears as he recalled promising Abubaker that one day, the two would run a marathon together.

Printed on 07/07/2011 as: Former soldier rescues injured student