Category Archives: Venetian Causeway

Critical Mass rides on this Friday night; plan your evening driving accordingly.

Route for Friday night's bike ride.

Route for Friday night’s bike ride.

The July Critical Mass bike ride is taking a Miami Beach-heavy route Friday night, crossing our neighborhood from Dade Boulevard west across Venetian Way to the mainland.

The ride is scheduled to start in downtown Miami at 7:15 p.m., crossing over the 79th Street Causeway through North Bay Village and then into Miami Beach on 71th Street  before heading south along Indian Creek and then Collins Avenue to Dade Boulevard.

You’ll want to be patient, and planning ahead is the best strategy. Be careful out there.

Venetian drawbridge construction starts soon, and here’s how to learn more about it

With the newest road construction obstacle course underway off Sunset Harbor in preparation for the West Avenue Bridge, another major traffic inconvenience is about to begin.

This one will no doubt be more disruptive. As we’ve reported before, Miami-Dade County has to do major work on the eastern Venetian Way drawbridge span, the one between Rivo Alto and Belle Isle.

The drawbridge has been locked in the closed position since April 2015, due to a mechanical failure.

Some work is expected to start next month, but the biggest issue — the closure of the bridge to all foot, bike and auto traffic — may not happen until November. At one point, the county had said the bridge would be closed to all traffic for a 45-day period.

That’s a huge headache, no matter how you look at it. Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco has told the Venetian Island Homeowner Association he’s investigating engaging a water taxi to ferry people across the gap, but it’s unclear how consistent the demand would be.

How bad will it be? What will be the precise timing?

Miami-Dade has scheduled a community meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, at the community room at 1000 Venetian Way on Biscayne Island. It will be hosted by the Venetian Way Neighborhood Association, in collaboration with the Belle Isle Residents Association and the Venetian Isles Homeowner Association.

Residents are encouraged to attend.

Get ready for another edition of Venetian crossing closed

The repair of the Venetian Way drawbridge between Belle Isle and Rivo Alto and roadbed repairs around it will begin as soon as September, and the crossing will be closed for 45 days during the work.

The drawbridge has been locked in the closed position since April 2015, due to a mechanical failure. When the westernmost span of the Venetian was rebuilt (May of 2015 to March 1, 2016), Miami-Dade County kept it closed to keep an open path on the longer routes from the Venetian Isles to mainland Miami.

But now Miami-Dade is moving ahead with the roadwork, the Miami Herald reports.

The cost of the project is about 2 million.  Construction should start around September. The drawbridge is expected to be finished by December 2016. Repairs to the other bridge are expected to be done by May.

Belle Isle residents to meet Tuesday to plan opposition to Belle Isle Key demolition

DeformaStudio-Bella Isla3

Rendering shows view from south side of Belle Isle.

A group of Belle Isle residents have scheduled a meeting Tuesday night at Costa Brava to rally opposition to the demolition of Belle Isle Key apartments.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.on the mezzanine level of the condo , 11 Island Ave.

The EuroAmerican Group, which owns the apartments at 31 Venetian Way, has submitted plans to replace the current complex of 120 units in five three-story buildings with 172 apartments in two five-story buildings. The project would also provide substantially more parking — 297 spaces in an interior garage, instead of the 109 spaces that are part of the current complex.

Belle Isle Key Apartments, 31 Island Ave.

Belle Isle Key Apartments, 31 Island Ave.

The Miami Beach Design Review Board will consider EuroAmerican’s plan on June 7.

Lawyer Richard Freeman, who lives in Costa Brava and is helping to organize opponents, said he’s trying to marshall a big group to show up on June 7 to voice opposition when the DRB meets.

“The best arguments are not as effective as having people show up,” he sad. “Sometimes numbers seak louder than words.”

At a meeting last week, Belle Isle Residents Association president Scott Diffenderfer said the island association would not be taking a formal position against the complex because the height and number of units are allowed under the zoning code.

“You can’t just fight it because you don’t like it,” he said. “It has to have a legal basis.”

A meeting announcement circulated by Freeman says some residents are concerned the project will bring more traffic, construction and block bay views from other buildings.


Venetian Way drawbridge has been on lockdown; it may stay that way most of 2016

You might not have noticed this, but even though Venetian Way has been open from Miami to Miami Beach since March 1,  the easternmost drawbridge — between Rivo Alto and and Belle Isle — has remained locked down.

Only the drawbridge between Biscayne Island abd Miami has been in operation. The eastern drawbridge closed in April 2015, due to a mechanical failure, and it hasn’t reopened with the rest of the toll road.

That’s meant a little less traffic disruption due to marine traffic for those of us who live on the Venetian.

But work on fixing the span is expected to start in June, Miami-Dade County says, assuming it gets a contractor in place. The job isn’t expected to be finished before the end of 2016.

According to the County: “Precluding any complications during the next step of the County’s procurement process, the County has begun securing a contractor projected to begin the rehabilitation in June 2016. Upon awarding the project, the contractor should complete the work within 180 days; however, the bridge will continue to be in the closed position to marine traffic intermittently until the contractor completes the project. As the major components of the bridge are installed and/or become operational, the contractor shall coordinate with all affected parties when closing or opening the bridge to vehicular/pedestrian and/or marine traffic.”  

Might the Belle Isle flooding threat be back? It looks bad for Island Terrace.

How a small rise in sea-level would impact 5 Island Avenue.

How a small rise in sea-level would impact 5 Island Avenue.

At a Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce conference on sea-level rise, one of the many scientists in attendance pointed to Belle Isle as a Miami Beach location specifically threatening by seas rising faster than previous believed.

According to the Real Deal, Keren Bolter, research coordinator for Florida Atlantic University Center for the Environmental Studies, said specific buildings on Belle Isle are at particular risk.

Bolter said that in as little as 15 years, flooding in Belle Isle will grow much worse, especially at Island Terrace, a 16-story condo built in 1967. “It’s coming up not just at the sides,” she said while showing Lidar maps depicting future sea-level rise at Island Terrace and Belle Isle. “It comes up from underground.” That’s partly because the limestone that South Florida land is predominately made of us is extremely porous. Because of this, not even sea walls will stop the flow of water, Bolter added.

It’s interesting to look at how the recent project on sea-level rise by Florida International University projects flooding in our area.

It shows Island Terrace flooding with an increase of 1.22 feet of water.

Venetian Way Neighborhood Association holds annual meeting April 12

The Venetian Way Neighborhood Association, which looks out for the interests of all five Venetian Islands, holds its annual meeting next month.

Among the topics the group will discuss: The reopening of the Venetian, future plans to rehab or rebuild other Venetian Way bridges, and the rush of development at both ends of the historic pathway between Miami and Miami Beach.

We’ve documented the many projects proposed or under way on thee Miami Beach end of the roadway; plans for the former Miami Herald properties now controlled by Genting remain unclear.

The meeting happens Tuesday, April 12, at 7 p.m. in the community room at 1000 Venetian Way. That’s on Biscayne Island, the westernmost Venetian Isle.