Protecting Public Safety and Residents’ Quality of Life
For the past twelve years, an estimated 250,000 tourists from around the world, including visitors from South Florida, enter South Beach’s entertainment district for Memorial Day Weekend, popularly known as Urban Beach Weekend.
While club promoters and venues organize private events during Memorial Day Weekend, the City of Miami Beach takes the appropriate steps to protect the safety of its residents and visitors as it does whenever such major events take place. As a result, a Major Events Plan (MEP) is created with the assistance of the Greater Miami Visitors and Conventions Bureau, the Hotel Association, the Community Relations Services Agency of the Department of Justice, in addition to the input from local businesses and community leaders.
The goal of our MEP is to address the impact that is expected with the increased population during any major event period including Memorial Day Weekend – this includes crowd management, pedestrian safety, and vehicular traffic flow.
While focus is given to public safety, it is also the intent of the City’s MEP to reduce the impact that events, such as Memorial Day Weekend, have on the quality of life of Miami Beach residents.
To keep the Memorial Day Weekend activities from overflowing into the residential neighborhoods and contained within the entertainment district, the City of Miami Beach will be implementing, for the second consecutive year, a traffic loop which was greatly applauded by Miami Beach residents for its success last year.
Beginning on Friday, May 24th and ending on Monday, May 27th, as of 7:00 pm daily, east bound traffic from the MacArthur Causeway will be directed towards Collins Avenue where vehicles may go north to 23rd Street. At 23rd Street, vehicles may head west to Washington Avenue where traffic will flow south towards 5th Street and westbound onto the MacArthur Causeway.
License plate readers will be deployed on the MacArthur Causeway and at other areas of the City to identify license tags with outstanding warrants, cars reported as stolen, expired registrations, and other potential violations. In addition, DUI checkpoints will be stationed just east of the entrances to Palm and Hibiscus Islands.
The South of Fifth neighborhood will be barricaded between Alton Road and Washington Avenue, directing non-local traffic to Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue. Residents of the South of Fifth neighborhood are encouraged to utilize Alton Road as their entry point.
Access to the Flamingo Park neighborhood will also be limited to only residents between 5th Street and 17th Street and between Alton Road and Washington Avenue.
While traffic will clearly be impacted during Memorial Day Weekend, residents are encouraged to use the Venetian Causeway to enter and exit the City.
Enhanced staffing by the Miami Beach Police Department includes coverage for North Beach and Mid Beach – where access to residential neighborhoods which provide shortcuts to South Beach via southbound roads between Alton Road and Indian Creek on 41st Street will be barricaded for local traffic.Eastbound traffic on 41st Street will be directed to Indian Creek where vehicles may travel north or south. Northbound entry to the Bayshore neighborhood from Dade Boulevard between Meridian Avenue and Pine Tree Drive will be limited to residents. Entry to neighborhoods to the west of Alton Road between 34th Street and Michigan Avenue will too be limited to local traffic.
With public safety as its top priority during Memorial Day Weekend, the Miami Beach Police Department will shut down clubs and businesses which jeopardize the safety of its patrons, citizens, and officers. In addition, Security Alliance will continue its normal patrol and G4S Security will provide enhanced assistance for barricades and crowd control.
While accidents are unpredictable, the City of Miami Beach has taken every possible step to protect visitors and residents from danger. Following last year’s model, augmented lighting will be provided for Ocean Drive, Lummus Park, and the beach west of the dunes from the south up to 21st Street.
If at any point the entertainment district in South Beach becomes congested and overcrowded, vehicular access to Miami Beach from the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle Causeway will be limited.
As in years past, Ocean Drive will remain open only for pedestrians during Memorial Day Weekend. Over 200 Good Will Ambassadors will be deployed to provide information to visitors and advice patrons of Miami Beach’s no Styrofoam and no open container policies.
With data from past years, the City is able to focus its resources to control and enforce code violations intrinsic to Memorial Day Weekend such as short term rentals, operations of unlicensed businesses, illegal special events, noise, illegal distribution of handbills, among other prohibited activities.
Please visit www.miamibeachfl.gov for more information on traffic, bus routes, parking, and other important issues relating to Memorial Day Weekend. You may also call my office at 305-673-7105 or email me at [email protected]
As Memorial Day quickly approaches, please keep in your thoughts the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. In Miami Beach and throughout our great country, Memorial Day shall forever remain a tribute to the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
The Miami Beach Police Department contributed to this article.
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