MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Cheers and applause could be heard in Pinecrest Friday as a new traffic signal was installed.READ MORE: Storms Causing Flight Delays At South Florida Airports
Many of the people who were there for the installation of the new signal were at the same location last year to grieve the loss of two University of Miami students.
“Thankfully, something tragic has only turned into something nice for the whole neighborhood,” said Daniel Wang, a professor.
Ying Chen and Hao Liu, both UM doctoral students were killed crossing the street at Kendall Drive and SW 68th Court.
“Both of them are the top of the class,” added Wang. “They graduated from Beijing University in China, studied PhD in electric engineering and very tragically lost their lives only 2 months into their studies at University of Miami.”
“It was horrible. It was horrible,” said Helaine Echavarria. “I saw the poor young man getting transferred to the ambulance the poor girl’s body laying there with all her school books. It was a really sad tragedy.”
The driver who hit them was found guilty of careless driving in traffic court, but the students’ friends, professors, and neighbors in the area said they worried about the safety of the intersection and wanted to see a light or a crosswalk.READ MORE: COVID In Florida: 5,520 New Cases, 9 Deaths Reported On Sunday
“Mothing was here before, nada, nothing just you look both ways and you run,” said Councilman James McDonald with the Village of Pinecrest. “Now, we’ve got a system set up where you want to cross the street you push a button it will stop everything four ways.”
Friends feel it’s a fitting way to honor the two students who died at the intersection and their families in China hope the new signal will prevent future tragedies.
“Unfortunately, it took a tragedy to get us here today, but we’re here today and this is in effect in their memory,” Councilman McDonald added.
“I feel like their death was not in vain something actually happened,” said Echavarria.
With the new signal in place, friends of Ying Chen and Hao Liu walked without worry across the street to a memorial on the other side.
Friends said family members of the two students killed will come from China sometime next year and will likely hold a vigil at the new signal.
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