Ocean Drive going completely pedestrian friendly, for now anyway

Hallandale Beach joins Fort Lauderdale in closing off lane of A1A for joggers, bicyclists, walkers

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Pedestrian friendly is popping up around South Florida streets as more people want to get outdoors since cities and counties are encouraging joggers, bikers, walkers and family strolls to get out after being cooped up indoors. So, to help out with social distancing, the city of Miami Beach and Hallandale Beach are making some changes to their vehicle traffic to accommodate more pedestrians and to make room for social distancing.

Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales wrote in a memo to the City Commission instructing that, beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday and until further notice, Ocean Drive will be closed to vehicles.

There’s a second part of the strategy, too. When Miami Beach’s restaurants open in Phase One on Wednesday, May 27, the cafes on Ocean Drive will have the ability to set up into the street for more outdoor dining capability.

“Please be advised that the City of the Miami Beach will be closing Ocean Drive to vehicular traffic beginning Saturday, May 16, at 7 a.m. The street will be closed to vehicular traffic until further notice. The plan is to be able to expand the cafes in Phase 1B into the street to provide additional capacity. It also offers an opportunity for walking and bicycling with social distance,” Morales wrote Friday.

In Broward County, the city of Hallandale Beach began Friday at 2 p.m., to convert its eastern lane of northbound A1A for pedestrian use only. This will be enforced on weekends. Southbound traffic on A1A will not be affected.

On May 3, Fort Lauderdale closed off the eastern northbound lanes of A1A to cars from Las Olas Boulevard north to Sunrise Boulevard during weekend hours to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists and to give people more room for social distancing who are walking along the beach promenade. This weekend, the city will monitor weather conditions, but if all goes well, the lanes will be open from 2 p.m., Friday, May 15 to 7 p.m. Sunday, May 17. Southbound traffic on A1A and Seabreeze Boulevard is not affected.

About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.