Miami-Dade Transit offers a South Beach Local workaround for Belle Isle

Among the multiple impacts from the deterioration of the Venetian Causeway bridges, new weight limits for the bridge between Belle Isle and Sunset Harbour led Miami-Dade Transit to halt South Beach Local service to Belle Isle.

That’s in addition to curtailing the route and service hours of Route A on Venetian Way.

The South Beach Local is the 25 cent bus ride that connects Belle Isle to Sunset Harbour and rest of South Beach via West Avenue and Washington Avenue. If you don’t have a car and can’t walk long distances, it’s your essential link off the island.

Route A connected Lincoln Road with mainland Miami and the Omni area, but didn’t go into Sunset Harbour. When the bridge emergency surfaced, the county first stopped Route A service, and then restored a truncated route that goes no further west than San Marco Island.

The end result: You can’t bus from Belle Isle to Publix.

So Barbara Cowen got fired up.

Cowen lives in Terrace Tower, 3 Island Ave. She depends on the South Beach Local for trips to Publix and other key points east. The decision to simply cross out the SBL stops on Belle Isle made no sense to her.

She gathered signatures more than 500 signatures from residents and employees of Belle Isle and other affected areas  and presented them to the county. And she got results.

Let her tell the story:

“As a result of 500-plus Belle Isle residents’ and employees’ request for the restoration of low-cost public transportation to Belle Isle, Miami-Dade Transit has reorganized the A bus route that runs along Venetian Way every half hour between 7 and 10 a.m. and between 2 and 6 p.m. to include a stop at Publix eastbound on the way to Meridian Avenue and 17th Street, and westbound from Meridian to San Marco Island. The stop for the A bus going from Belle Isle to Publix is at the bus shelter on the south side of Venetian Way, by the park (and the DecoBike kiosk). The bus stop on the return from Publix is at the bus shelter on the north side of Venetian Way.”

Riders can pick up the South Beach Local at Publix. This isn’t perfect, but it’s an improvement over no service from Belle Isle to Publix. For now, you can take the A bus for free.

And, of course, the work isn’t done, Cowan says. The Route A schedule is limited. The A bus used to run until midnight.

The action moves to Miami Beach City Hall on Wednesday.

Cowan: “The mayor and the commissioners will be discussing the restoration of local transportation services to Belle Isle at the commission meeting on Wednesday, April 30, at 5 p.m. This item has been placed on the agenda in response to the request of 500-plus Belle Isle residents for the pressing need for the return of local, affordable and reliable transportation. Belle Isle residents are urged to attend the meeting.”

Thanks, Barbara!

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