Miami Beach commissioners Wednesday unanimously supported keeping the Belle Isle stop on the South Beach Local bus service.
A contingent of Belle Isle Residents Association representatives argued the case for keeping the stop on the South Beach bus loop in the days leading up to Wednesday’s meeting, including Josh Fisher, Barbara Cowen and Nancy Leibman.
Belle Isle’s popular boutique hotel and spa, The Standard, wrote commissioners a letter urging that the bus stop be kept, which Cowen read at the meeting. In it, general manager Ian Segal wrote “many of our associates as well as hotel guests have enjoyed this public service with a convenient stop at our beautiful Belle Isle.”
Residents’ Association President Scott Diffenderfer, a member of the Transportation and Parking Committee, also supported keeping the stop.
Commissioners Jerry Libben and Ed Tobin called for discussing the Belle Isle stop at Wednesday’s meeting. Libben noted that Miami-Dade Transit’s own ridership surveys showed stops with lower ridership than Belle Isle.
Nine Island Avenue resident Josh Fisher noted that his own “informal ‘dog walk time’ survey is that far, far more people use the bus now. Sometimes I see large numbers of people getting on and off. It is much less frequent that one simply passes us by.”
Fisher said that he met with Miami-Dade Transit planners, and they told him they had offered Miami Beach to keep the Belle Isle stop, but with slightly less frequency during peak afternoon times throughout the SBL route.
Fisher says the county told him Wednesday morning that they are moving forward with plans to re-route the SBL to the north side of the island, instead of looping around Island Avenue.
The county is still considering raising the SBL fare from 25 cents. How much hasn’t been determined. A Miami Beach committee recommended it go up to 50 cents.