South Beach Will Be a Police State this Weekend: Here's What to Expect
In a $1.8 million effort to control crowds (and, lets be honest, discourage Urban Beach Week festivities from happening in the future), South Beach will resemble nothing short of a police state this weekend. Though, The Miami Herald's Miami Beach reporter David Smiley tweets that "projected Memorial Day weekend Miami Beach hotel occupancy remains way below last year's actual occupancy figures," the Miami Beach Police Department, under the leadership of new Police Chief Ray Martinez and pressure from locals, is preparing for the worst. Here's all the reported measures police will be taking on Miami Beach this weekend.
Traffic on the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle causeways could be restricted to one lane, and a DUI checkpoint will be set up
Between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, traffic toward South Beach on the MacArthur Causeway will be reduced to just one lane. A DUI checkpoint will also be set up on the causeway. Traffic on the Julia Tuttle could be also reduced to a single lane if traffic becomes too thick, which seems somewhat counter-intuitive. The effect this could have on traffic on either sides of the causeways is unforeseeable.
High-tech scanners will scan license plates on the Tuttle and MacArthur Causeways and check for outstanding warrants
Drivers with outstanding warrants will be pulled over.
The Venetian Causeway won't actually be closed to non-residents, but police will try their hardest to make it appear that way
According to Belle Isle Blog, there will be signs up proclaiming that the Venetian will be open only to Miami Beach and Miami residents. Police may also be asking for ID. However, technically the county has not restricted access to the Venetian. Police will be swarming the isles along the causeway.
Once inside South Beach, visitors will be greeted by around 600 police officers
In addition to Miami Beach PD, officers from more than a dozen other local forces will be patrolling the island. Depending on who you ask, there may or may not be a 2,000 arrest quota.
Ocean Drive will be open to pedestrians only
From Friday night until Tuesday morning from Fifth go 15th Streets.
A "Traffic Loop" will be in effect on Washington and Collins Avenues
Traffic on Collins Avenue will only be allowed to head north throughout the weekend. Traffic on Washington will only be allowed to move south from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Roadblocks will be set up limiting traffic into residential areas.
Cars and people entering residential areas will be asked for ID
If you try to enter the following area you'll be asked for ID: South of Fifth Street between Alton Road and Euclid Avenue; between Fifth Street and Lincoln Road from Washington Avenue to Alton Road; between Dade Boulevard and 41st Street from Alton to Collins Avenue. However, no one will officially be denied access. Again, it appears they only want to create the appearance that these areas are off limit to non-locals.
Enforcement of infractions like public drinking will be stepped up
Even though enforcement of bans against drinking alcohol on the beach have been traditionally lax, police will be sure to enforce just about every law on the books this weekend. Miami-Dade Police have ramped up similar efforts during major weekends in the lead up to Memorial Day Weekend to avoid criticism.
Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.