In an effort to control South Beach party crowds over Memorial Day Weekend, the city of Miami Beach announced Tuesday that it will target traffic congestion, overcrowding at beaches and the renting of vehicles popular among tourists next week through a series of emergency orders.
The new orders, announced Tuesday, limit capacity at some beaches, require drivers to pass through license-plate checkpoints to enter South Beach and suspend scooter, golf cart and three-wheeled autocycle rentals.
The orders won’t be enacted citywide. They will only affect the area between Fifth and 16th streets from Ocean Drive to Pennsylvania Avenue. That includes Washington and Collins avenues, which will be converted into one-way streets during the evening as part of a traffic loop escorting drivers in and out of South Beach. (Residents of the Flamingo Park and South of Fifth neighborhoods can access their neighborhood with a valid photo ID or proof of residency.)
The new measures — similar to those rolled out during spring break and other busy tourist periods — begin May 28 and end at 7 p.m. on Memorial Day. The city will host a virtual meeting next Tuesday at 6 p.m. to update residents on the new measures and traffic plan. More information on the meeting and the city’s plan for Memorial Day Weekend can be found on the city’s website.
License-plate readers will be used on the Julia Tuttle and MacArthur causeways beginning at 10 p.m. on May 28. The Julia Tuttle Causeway will have two eastbound lanes open during evenings over the holiday weekend, and the MacArthur Causeway will only have one lane open. License-plate readers will also be used along Fifth Street and 41st Street.
Also effective next Friday, on-street parking along Collins and Washington Avenue will be prohibited and parking at city garages in the affected area will cost $20 — except for access-card holders and Beach residents.
Among the emergency measures in place for Memorial Day Weekend:
Drinking alcohol on the beach — already illegal under City law — is not allowed unless “specifically authorized” by a special event permit or concession agreement. The sale of alcoholic drinks at events like the Hyundai Air & Sea Show, which will be located on the beach and Lummus Park, is permitted.
Police will restrict some traffic routes and permit access only for residents and patrons and employees of businesses in the specific area where traffic has been limited.
The city will limit the number of people who can be on certain beaches at one time, blocking access when occupancy caps are reached to “protect the health, safety and public welfare.”
Coolers, inflatable devices, tents, tables and similar structures are not allowed on the beach.
The city will suspend or temporarily stop issuing business tax receipts for party promoters hired to advertise dance or entertainment events at any business serving alcohol in the area between Fifth and 16th streets from Ocean Drive to Pennsylvania Avenue, including Washington and Collins avenues. The measure does not prevent clubs or bars from promoting their own events, nor does it ban such events outright, but it seeks to crack down on outside promoters.
The city will suspend and close businesses in the area that rent or lease golf carts, scooters, motorized bicycles, motorcycles with motors of 50cc or less and three-wheeled autocycles, such as the popular Polaris Slingshot.
How to get around during Memorial Day Weekend
The South Beach traffic loop planned for Memorial Day Weekend will be rolled out on the night of May 28, a Friday, and continue through Sunday morning. The loop, which will take effect every day at 7 p.m. and end no later than 5 a.m., will direct eastbound traffic on Fifth Street north onto Collins Avenue toward 17th Street. There, the loop will then direct traffic west toward Washington Avenue and then south to Fifth Street, where traffic will be steered west out of the city.
Residential-only zones for the Flamingo Park and South of Fifth neighborhoods will be in place each evening from 7 p.m. until 4:30 a.m. beginning May 27 and running through Memorial Day. Visitors who want to access the neighborhoods — including delivery and ride-sharing drivers — must go through checkpoints that will be operated by police or security guards. Residents can avoid the checkpoints by using resident-only entrances that require ID verification.
While the traffic loop is in place, Miami Beach Trolley and Miami-Dade County bus service will operate along Meridian Avenue between Fifth and 17th streets to avoid Collins Avenue.
Miami Beach will provide complimentary trolley rides to and from designated event parking garages on May 29 and May 30 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., about every 15 minutes. Trolley stops include the 41st Street and Sheridan Avenue garage (Trolley Stop #219); 23rd Street and Liberty Avenue garage (Trolley Stop #194) and the garages at 17th Street, Pennsylvania Avenue and City Hall (Trolley Stop #200).