The Venetian Islands will have cops on almost every corner during Memorial Day weekend, with signs warning drivers the Venetian Causeway is for locals only, Miami Beach Police told island homeowners on Wednesday.
Miami Beach’s new police chief, Ray Martinez, and his top leadership outlined the unprecedented police presence at a meeting at the Miami Beach Garden Center.
“What we have done for you on the Venetian Islands is very unique,” said Capt. Henry Doce. “You guys will notice that you can move around….but tourists will be given the impression that they can’t get in.”
There will be barricades at each island entrance at the causeway, and either a Miami Beach police officer or security alliance member will be stationed on each island, Doce said.
The traffic control strategy will severely restrict entry to Miami Beach on the MacArthur, Julia Tuttle and Venetian causeways on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, Doce said.
Each night, eastbound traffic from Miami on the MacArthur and the Tuttle will be squeezed from three lanes to one, Doce said. License tag scanners will be used to check for drivers with outstanding arrest warrants. On the MacArthur on Friday night, police will operate a DUI checkpoint.
On the Venetian, signs on the mainland Miami and Miami Beach entrances will warn the passage is for local residents only. A Miami police officer will be stationed near the causeway entrance, police lights blazing, to discourage non-residents. The barricades and police presence will discourage non-residents from leaving the main causeway for the islands.
One resident asked Doce what Venetian residents should tell guests visiting their homes during the weekend. “Make sure they know your address,” Doce said.
Michael Bauman, who oversees the Venetian Causeway for Miami-Dade Public Works, said Miami Beach asked permission to close the Venetian to non-resident traffic, but they county could not allow it.
“We operate a county roadway and it is open to everyone all the time,” Bauman said. “We won’t be restricting access….the policies the police department has in place are voluntary policies.”
A resident asked Bauman if all six causeway toll lanes (three east and three west) would be staffed at all times. He said staffing will be increased, but he could not commit to all the lanes being open for the entire weekend.
“We will do our best to staff all lanes. It’s part of our plan,” he said.