Category Archives: Traffic

Roadwork, causeway construction, commentary on the comings and goings along the causeway and Venetian Way.

Miami Beach will ask Coast Guard to close east Venetian drawbridge during construction

Mayor Philip Levine told Venetian Island residents that Miami Beach will ask the Coast Guard to lock down the east Venetian Causeway bridge during the construction of a new west bridge span that will start this fall.

Levine said he and City Manager Jimmy Morales would draft and send the letter, “and I will follow up with the Coast Guard commandant.”

Morales said it is important to get Miami-Dade County to join in on the request, because the county oversees the causeway. Levine and Morales plan to discuss the issue with Mayor Carlos Gimenez, they said.

Because of structural issues with the causeway bridges, Miami-Dade County expects to shut down the westernmost bridge to mainland Miami around November so the bridge span can be torn down and replaced.

It’s expected to be closed for nine months.

Miami and Miami Beach has been working on contingency plans to get rescue vehicles to the islands during the closure.

“For me, its really an emergency situation, if we can’t get to a resident if the bridge is up,” said Commissioner  Micky Steinberg, who scheduled the issue for discussion.

Venetian Island residents Tony Santos and Holly Sukanik Wallack asked the city to send a forceful letter to the Coast Guard.

“Locking down the east bridge ensures we have access for emergency fire and rescue vehicles,” Wallack said, noting that the east bridge was twice stuck in the up position during the last month — once for four hours.

Santos reminded commissioners of a recent death of a Venetian resident who suffered a heart attack and couldn’t be attended to by paramedics because of delays in getting across the drawbridge.

Miami Beach fire officials said that because the city of Miami cannot bring any fire trucks across the bridge. Miami has placed a pumper truck at the 1000 Venetian Way condo for emergency use. Miami could send firefighters to run the truck on pickup trucks until the bridge construction begins, and by boat after.








Sunpass on the Venetian Causeway: transition happens Aug. 29

What Miami-Dade’s causeway folks have been saying would happen for more more than two years is about to become reality: the Venetian Causeway will convert to SunPass for tolls and annual pass use starting Friday, Aug. 29.

That means no one will need to stop at the toll Plaza on Biscayne Island; instead, SunPass will either register their car transponder or bill them toll-by-plate. The county predicts it will reduce the backups at the plaza during busy times.

Even though the county plans to close the easternmost span between Biscayne Island and Miami in the fall for a reconstruction that will take six to nine months, the SunPass conversion is moving forward.

If you are a Venetian annual pass holder (either an island resident or employed on the island) you’ll be getting a form in the mail that will enable you to register your SunPass so you won’t be billed.

You’ll need to provide your transponder number and plate number to link your plan account for the Venetian with your transponder to avoid per-trip fees.

Here’s the notification the county sent to Belle Isle condo managers:

From: Tolls (PWWM) []
Sent: Friday, July 18, 2014 3:03 PM
Cc: Bauman, Mike (PWWM)
Subject: SunPass Update

Dear Venetian Causeway Neighbors,

We are pleased to announce that the transition to SunPass is tentatively scheduled for Friday, August 29, 2014. When the conversion is complete, drivers will have improved travel time and traffic flow across the Causeway. Please be advised that in order to avoid per trip or Toll-By-Plate charges, each motorist must have a SunPass transponder. For annual plan holders, their account will be linked to their SunPass account so that they will not incur any additional charges.

In an effort to keep you informed of the progress:

– A letter has been sent to all current annual plan holders to obtain their SunPass transponder numbers

– All plan holder accounts will be updated with the SunPass transponder data

– Flyers and other informational material will be distributed in the lanes and available at the Venetian Customer Service Center

– Signage announcing the change will be in place–

E-mail address has been established to address questions and concerns

We will provide additional updates as needed.

Thank you,

Causeways Division

Venetian Island homeowners wrangle to keep traffic flowing during bridge construction

How will we get off our islands when construction causes the closure of the westernmost span of Venetian Way, between Biscayne Island and mainland Miami?

Some members of the Venetian Islands Homeowner Association are actively lobbying the keep the easternmost drawbridge locked down during that time, which will begin some time in the fall.

The Miami Herald’s Cristina Veiga has a detailed look at issues.

Venetian could get thorough makeover, FDOT says

Florida Department of Transportation officials held their advertising first meeting on the future of the Venetian Causeway on Wednesday night.

Among the requests — changing the name of the residential link between mainland Miami and Miami Beach from “causeway” to Venetian Way.

Here’s the coverage from the Herald.


What’s next for Venetian Causeway? FDOT starts the process Wednesday

We’ve resigned ourselves to the closure of the westernmost Venetian Causeway bridge, expected to begin around September or October so the segment can be rebuilt.

Miami-Dade County last month approved spending $10 million on that project, which they say will take six to nine months. And we know engineering reports say the other Venetian bridges at minimum need repairs, some more significant than others.

We could learn more next week, when the Florida Department of Transportation holds an informational meeting on its Venetian Causeway project development and environmental study.

According to the FDOT press release, “the meeting will provide an introduction to the project and present information regarding the existing conditions and the schedule for the study.”

The meeting happens Wednesday, June 25, at 6 p.m. at the Miami Beach Regional Library, 227 2 St., near the Bass Museum.

There is an FDOT website on the project.

FDOT says 17th Street should reopen Saturday

You probably noticed that the roadwork that caused the Florida Department of Transportation to close 17th Street between Alton Road and Alton Court didn’t get finished by the original completion date of May 22.

FDOT now says 17th Street should be open to traffic by Saturday morning.

Construction crews closed 17th Street on May 11 so workers could install underground drainage structures and pipe, and then rebuild the roadway. The work was supposed to be done on Thursday, May 22, before the start of the busy Memorial Day weekend.

But “there were some unforeseen conditions that arose that required the closure to be extended,” project spokeswoman Heather Leslie said. “We were required to replace sections of the city’s existing drainage system and water main immediately west of Alton Road that were found to be in deteriorating condition and in conflict with the roadway.

“Also, there were two days of rain that significantly impacted completion of the drainage operations and construction of the roadway base.”


Miami Beach Human Rights Committee wants feedback on Memorial Day weekend experience

With Memorial Day weekend about to start, Miami Beach is getting prepared.

That means barricades, crowd control and a major police presence along with lots of parties and visitors. For lots of Beach residents, the Memorial Day crush and attendant traffic makes for a less than relaxing holiday.

In years past, the city has been criticized for policing too little and policing too much. The Collins Avenue shooting of a motorist by police three years ago is still under investigation, and subject of a lawsuit. The annual arrest tally has drawn criticism from civil libertarians.

The Miami Beach Human Rights Committee has posted an online survey to get your thoughts (and those of visitors) on how well the city prepared for the festivities — and how it handled the weekend.

It wants to know if you felt safe — and whether the city treated residents and visitors with respect.


Miami-Dade approves $10 million to repair Venetian island bridge to mainland

Miami-Dade County commissioners on Tuesday approved spending $10.1 million on a emergency basis for the design and construction of a replacement bridge for the westernmost bridge span on Venetian Way.

The vote will enable the county to demolish, design and rebuild the the bridge more quickly — and without a competitive bidding process. In a memo to commissioners, Deputy Mayor Alina Hudak said the design phase will take about four months, and the constrcution will take six to nine months.

That means, Venetian Way Neighborhood Alliance Presdient Jack Hartog said in a note to island residents, we’re roughly looking at a construction start in October and completion in some time between April and July 2015.

VWNA will have issues to tackle between now and when the bridge closes for construction, Hartog said.

“We need to work now so that when the bridge is closed we can:

– Ensure emergency and other needed services to the Venetian Islands continue;

– Find viable ways for allowing at least pedestrian and bicyle traffic to get back and forth between the mainland and Biscayne Island;

– Make sure this inconvenience is as short as possible.”

In her memo to commissioners, Hudak said that the structural issues with the bridge was so severe that waiting could mean more reductions in the weight of vehicles permitted to cross the bridge. Now, the weight is limited to 5 tons, restricting bus service to the islands from Miami.

“A delay to commence the necessary construction activities can further impact the existing restrictions to the use of the Bridge Segment, placing a significant and prolonged impact on its users,” Hudak said. “The procurement of the contract is expected to take four (4) months, with actual construction to take six (6) to nine (9) months thereafter, during which time the Bridge Segment would be closed to vehicular traffic. The work, currently estimated at $10,100,000, will consist of the complete demolition of the existing Bridge Segment, and the construction of an entirely new bridge from foundations to bridge deck.

“Once completed, the current five (5) ton weight restriction will be removed and the life expectancy of the entire West Venetian Bascule Bridge will be 60 years.”

Meanwhile, Hartog notes, the Florida Department of Transportation is reviewing how to repair or replace the other 11 bridges that make up the crossing from mainland Miami to Miami Beach.

That study will address ‘viable replacement alternatives, the historic nature of the bridges, public and private stakeholder concerns, environmental impacts and potential costs.” The study will take at least another four to five years, accrdoing to the memo.


How to get Miami Beach discount on new ParkMobile app

The city of Miami Beach is launching a new parking app for iPhone and Android that will enable you to park at metered spaces and in city garages without worrying about cash; they bill directly to a credit card.

The app, called ParkMobile, is a free download, and city residents who properly register the app save money on their parking.  Registering requires a trip to the city parking office. Here’s the lowdown, from the city website:

Miami Beach residents will enjoy the discounted hourly parking rate of $1.00 per hour in South Beach (south of Dade Blvd/23rd Street) in lieu of the retail meter hourly rate of $1.75. This equates to a 43% discount!

Additionally, ParkMobile has agreed to waive transactional fees for qualifying Miami Beach residents. Miami Beach residents, who are actively participating in one the City’s residential parking permit programs, are automatically pre-qualified for the resident parking rate discount/transaction fee waiver when they enroll with ParkMobile.  Just download the app and start parking!

In order to enjoy the parking rate discount and transaction fee waiver residents who are NOT currently participating in any of the City’s residential parking permit programs, will need to register at the City of Miami Beach Customer Service Center located at 1755 Meridian Avenue, Suite 100, Miami Beach, Florida and provide the following information:

• Valid Photo ID – Issued by local, state, or federal agency (driver’s license, passport)

• Valid Vehicle Registration – vehicle registration belonging to the person applying for the exemption. If the vehicle is registered to a different person, the resident must provide proof of insurance.

• Valid Proof of Miami Beach Residency – one (1) of the following items must be provided at the time of registration: monthly bill/statement with the resident’s name and address. Current statement must have been mailed within the last 30 days.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  Internet/electronic bills are not acceptable proof of residency.

o   Utility bill (electric, phone, gas, cable)
o   Mobile phone carrier statement
o   Bank statement
o   Credit card statement (credit card number must be obstructed)
o   Vehicle insurance statement
o   Mortgage statement
o   Property tax statement (last one received)

Once registered, ParkMobile will automatically update your ParkMobile account status and you may start enjoying your discounted parking rate and ParkMobile fee waiver.

Shutdown on 17th Street at Alton Road starts Sunday night

The construction on Alton Road claims a major intersection starting Sunday night though May 22, when all east and west bound lanes will be closed on 17 Street west of Aton Road to Alton Court .

Alton Court is the alley that runs behind Epicure and Ace Hardware.

The closure will enable the Alton Road reconstruction contractor to install underground drainage structures and pipe, and then rebuild the road.

Northbound traffic on Alton Road will not be affected.

Motorists traveling south on Alton Road who wish to turn west on 17 Street will have to pass 17th Street, then turn west on 16th Street and north on West Avenue to get back to 17th Street west.

Drivers traveling north on Alton Road who need to go west on 17 Street will have to turn left on 16th Street and then right on West Avenue.

Drivers heading from Belle Isle to the east on 17 Street who will have to either go south on West to 16th Street, or use Dade Boulevard.