Ernesto Rodriguez, spokesperson for Miami Beach Police, says authorities will approach Memorial Day weekend "like a stadium."
“There are only so many seats to the stadium,” he says. “Once we’re at occupancy, we have to funnel traffic that wants to get out as quickly as possible so additional folks can be let in as quickly as possible.”
This year’s holiday weekend – marked by several free events, Urban Beach Week parties and the second annual Air and Sea show – is expected to draw 50,000 people a day. Despite possible inclement weather, the crowds could take a toll on traffic in and out of the beach.
Security is another major priority. The entire Miami Beach Police force will be deployed and they will get help from other agencies, including Miami-Dade County Police, the Miami Police Department and the Florida Highway Patrol.
Here’s what you know to navigate Memorial Day Weekend on the beach:
- Police will be deploying two dozen license plate readers that will scan each tag coming into the beach. Several will be mobile mounted on police vehicles while others will be fixed at major intersections, including the Julia Tuttle and McArthur causeways. For that reason, traffic on the causeways will be funneled down to one lane. The readers check for stolen vehicles and wanted subjects.
- Traffic on the Venetian Causeway will not be restricted.
- Ocean Drive will be closed to traffic from 7 a.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Tuesday.
- There will be a traffic loop on South Beach on Saturday and Sunday night. Collins Avenue will only be for northbound traffic to 16 Street. From there, traffic goes west to Washington Avenue, which will be used as a completely southbound thoroughfare until 5 Street.
- In that traffic loop, access to South Beach residential neighborhoods will be limited. Residents must show a valid ID or proof of residency to enter those areas.
- To help with getting around, visitors can download the free Park Me app, which locates nearby parking and includes rates for lots and garages. The free Miami Beach trolleys and Citi Bike will also be available.
- Parents can register their kids as a safety measure at Lummus Park on Ocean Drive between 12th and 13th Streets on Saturday and Sunday. Miami Beach Police and Emergency Management will give kids a wristband ID that will contain their guardian’s name and contact information.