South Beach changes traffic pattern during hot Memorial Day weekend

Attention drivers: Washington turns southbound, Collins turns northbound

By Janine Stanwood - Anchor/Reporter, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Thousands of tourists have descended on Miami Beach for the hot and sunny Memorial Day weekend, but city officials say they're prepared for the heavy traffic and large crowds.

The Miami Beach Police Department is relying on license plate readers at both the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle causeways. Officers have reduced eastbound traffic on MacArthur to one lane and on Julia Tuttle to two lanes.

"Our two busiests nights are Saturday and Sunday ... It's all about controlling the large crowds," Chief Dan Oates said. "We are in good shape."

Officer Ernesto Rodriguez, a spokesman for the department, said they have officers in every intersection. Terrace Brooks said he was feeling safe while walking on Ocean Drive, which will remain closed to vehicular traffic until Tuesday morning.  

"It is cool! For real," Brooks said. "We are out having fun."  

From Fifth to 16th streets, officers are only allowing northbound traffic on Collins Avenue and southbound traffic on Washington Avenue. Traffic in some areas of South Beach is limited to residents only. 

The South of Fifth Neighborhood Association now has area Capt. Mimi Pfrogner to discuss community issues. And aside from hiring more police officers, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber has more code enforcement officers on duty to crack down on unauthorized events.

The city also has a team of Goodwill Ambassadors, who are wearing bright green T-shirts, and a kid zone at Lummus Park on Ocean Drive. Officials are asking drivers to use the city's free app to find available parking and to use the free trolleys and the 24-hour Citi Bike service

For more information about Miami Beach's Memorial Day arrangements, visit the city's website.

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