Anyone planning to spend time downtown or in South Beach this weekend may want to rethink their plans — fast. With tens of thousands of extra party people here for Ultra, LeBron back in town to play the Heat, and South Beach raging with spring breakers, our already traffic-choked city promises to become exponentially more hellish for motorists this weekend.
Ultra organizers urge festivalgoers to use mass transit to get downtown, and Metromover, Metrorail, and Tri-Rail are all offering extended service this weekend. Uber has already warned about "increased wait times and longer than normal ETAs" (and, we're guessing, huge surge prices).
Those who absolutely must get in their cars this weekend should prepare for lots of cops, tweaked routes, and delays throughout Miami and Miami Beach.
To avoid colliding with spillover from the some 150,000 Ultra attendees, the Miami Police Department has announced traffic re-routes around Bayfront Park, effective last night. Those heading south on Biscayne Boulevard are detoured west at NE Fourth Street to NE Second Avenue. All northbound traffic along Biscayne is being shifted to the southbound lanes at SE First Street. Traffic will continue northbound until NE Fourth Street, where it will be shifted back to the regular northbound lanes.
Ultra begins today, with gates opening at 4 p.m. and closing at midnight. Gates will be open from noon to midnight Saturday and from noon to 11 p.m. Sunday.
Uber announced it will have a designated Rider Lounge/pick-up location for Ultra Friday to Monday, located at 500 Biscayne Blvd. The goal, the company says, is "to provide a safe, convenient location for festivalgoers and help alleviate gridlock and traffic surrounding the largest EDM festival in the world."
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As if all of that commotion weren't enough, just a few blocks north of Bayfront Park, at the American Airlines Arena, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will play the Miami Heat at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Across the bridge, meanwhile, the Miami Beach Police Department is taking extra precautions to increase security in South Beach, especially after last weekend's deadly shooting and general chaos around Ocean Drive.
Police staffing in the area will be significantly increased, and the oceanfront party street will be closed to cars from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., according to Miami Beach Police.