Venetian Causeway Closed Again, So Good Luck Trying to Go Anywhere

Venetian Causeway Closed Again, So Good Luck Trying to Go Anywhere
Photo by Karli Evans

Miamians with cars are forced to bend over backward each day to avoid the nonstop gridlock that is downtown traffic during the day. Trying to travel between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.? Good luck getting to Doral in less than an hour. Ditto driving across the MacArthur Causeway.

Now, in a move that further proves Miami life revolves around a recurring swirl of traffic jams, the Venetian Causeway has been closed yet again — just a week after the massive traffic jam during Art Basel ended December 4.

As New Times reported last month, the Venetian — the safest option for cyclists who want to cross Biscayne Bay with all four limbs still attached — is in need of some serious repairs. The causeway had been closed from June 2015 to February 2016, gumming up traffic on Biscayne Boulevard in downtown and on the city's other major bridges.

But that was not enough time to fully repair the aging bridge: The Venetian closed yet again, November 14.

In 2015, the Venetian remained closed during Art Basel, which resulted in a true perfect storm of Miami traffic impediments. The county learned its lesson: This year, the causeway was reopened temporarily for Basel weekend and remained open until yesterday morning.

Though vehicular traffic grows exponentially worse with the Venetian closed, the real group of commuters hurt here is cyclists. There are technically bike lanes on portions of the fast-moving MacArthur and Julia Tuttle Causeways, but the Venetian is a flatter, calmer, safer ride, with more protected lanes than any of Miami's other major cross-bay arteries and a low speed limit for cars. Given the fact that Miami is an incredibly dangerous town for cyclists, locals can at least be thankful the bridge will reopen at the end of the month.

Residents with cars or bikes can also be thankful they're not resigned to riding Miami-Dade County's bus system regularly either.

On Public Transit Day last week — a day in which government officials and some public figures promised to ride public transit to raise awareness about the city's infrastructure problems, and gave the county ample warning they were coming — a Miami Herald reporter waited so long for a bus to work that she eventually gave up and called an Uber.

The causeway will reopen December 29, just in time for New Year's Eve traffic jams.


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