Miami Beach Debates Whether to Ban Cars From Ocean Drive

Categories: Road Rage

oceandrive.jpg.jpg
Photo by Visitor7 via Wikimedia Commons
At a municipal meeting last month, one Miami Beach commissioner floated a simple idea in response to growing traffic and congestion concerns: permanently banning cars from Ocean Drive. In a city where Lincoln Road, another pedestrianized street, has become one of its biggest tourist draws, you'd think the idea might have some resonance. But to many in the city's business community, the idea has since become a rallying cry.

"There's no logic to it," Jerry Libbin, president of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, tells Riptide. "If you cut off all the traffic to Ocean Drive, you're basically cutting off the lifeline."

The owners of Ocean Drive mainstays like Mango's and the Clevelander are all vehemently opposed to the idea, Libbin says, because they believe a large number of potential customers would just stay away from the popular strip rather than deal with the headache of trying to find even scarcer street parking.

"To address the congestion makes sense, but to eliminate all cars would severely hurt business," says Libbin, a former commissioner.

The pedestrian-only idea was brought up by Commissioner Jonah Wolfson (who didn't respond to a message from Riptide) during discussion at a meeting last month. According to Libbin, no other commissioners are yet on board; a verbal report on the proposal was given at another meeting last Wednesday, and a study will likely be conducted before the initiative advances.

The chamber of commerce is slated to address the issue at its own meeting next week, when Libbin expects the organization to take a more formal stance.

But the former commissioner's own opinion was already set: turning South Beach's other iconic boulevard into a walk-only zone would be a blow to business.

"If you look at all the cars that are there now," he said, "if you see all those cars -- and to think that they're all going to walk from wherever they're coming?"

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217 comments
Julian Dear
Julian Dear

Ive got some old old pics of you i must send you them !

Stephen Mcdermid
Stephen Mcdermid

Hold on, I'm just focussing the security camera ... I see you've brought your own maid Julian Dear !

Stephen Mcdermid
Stephen Mcdermid

Aww bless her .. I watched the documentary 'I am Divine' last night... As you're clearly still outside the gates I'll send my maid , Marlene ( dressed as Hattie McDaniel) down with an iced tea..

Stephen Mcdermid
Stephen Mcdermid

Julian Dear I thought my security guard- Selena Gonez- had said there was a Divine lookalike hanging about!

Stephen Mcdermid
Stephen Mcdermid

Julian Dear you pretentious Mary! I'm considering banning people from walking past my house !

Brian Miceli
Brian Miceli

overpriced food you wouldn't serve to your dog!

Jesse Hall
Jesse Hall

It's a parking lot half the time anyway. What gets me as well is everyone who wants to eat al fresco (outside) and they get to enjoy all that lousy car exhaust while munching on overpriced food. Yummy!

Glori Mari
Glori Mari

Closing Ocean Drive to traffic will make the actual beaches less accessible for a lot of people, especially local families and elderly that just want to spend a little beach time.

Clare Hartkorn-Taylor
Clare Hartkorn-Taylor

Loooove this...and have the next street north and the one farther in south..fine it before and it works! It's also safe:-)

Buffer Guy
Buffer Guy

Dont ban s@?t! Its a tourist atrraction hotspot! If u dont like it jus keep your @ss from on ocean drive! Itll never happen anyway so get over it! Money makes the world go round!!!!!!

Jenni Warjas Morales
Jenni Warjas Morales

Valet Parking at one famous Ocean Drive institution is $27. That's why they are vehemently opposed to shutting it down. I'm sure the businesses on Collins aren't thrilled either - it would end up even more congested. And where would people unload their luggage for the hotels? The alley behind Ocean isn't suitable. It's a nice idea but not well thought out.

Ray Grandon
Ray Grandon

Ban cars from Miami Beach forever and bring in metro-rail!!!

Nogui Aramburo
Nogui Aramburo

It'll all be under water in 50 years - buy property in Hialeah - the new shore...

Anthony Heavenrich
Anthony Heavenrich

just make a smart app for parking, so we dont have all the cars, with there loud music up and down, no parking no entree simple

Patty Maldonado
Patty Maldonado

I say this is a debate worth having. Not sure I would eliminate them completely. I would make the street one way. I would consider closing the street to traffic on weekends and during certain times of the year.

Alex Rios
Alex Rios

Finally these fucking politicians doing something for people that lives here

Ryan Welch
Ryan Welch

They were ban memorial day weekend when I was visiting.

Stefano Alessio
Stefano Alessio

FABULOUS IDEA! Ban them baby! Even better idea, ban all private vehicles from the entire city and replace the current system with a Disney-like network of efficient public transport. The entire chaotic city of Greater Miami is a complex disaster-zone of highways and byways to nowhere on which mindless motorists meander at high speeds in their deadly, highly-polluting shinny metal boxes, to the benefit of no one. The sooner this situation changes, the better.

Carl Burkhardt
Carl Burkhardt

as if the traffic jams aren't already a nightmare, you'd actually consider closing a main thoroughfare and dump that traffic on the remaining streets..??? Too stupid to even think about..

Peggy Villar
Peggy Villar

Then how is everyone going to show off the cars they've rented. o_O

Millie Santana
Millie Santana

What they need to ban is those annoying tourists buses from driving on Ocean Drive. They are one of the biggest problems on South Beach!!!

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

Miami's already an aspiring-botched copy of Hollywood... Sans the celebrities, of course.

Roxana Gosney
Roxana Gosney

Yes please about time I will visit it more often

Jonathan Lovecchio
Jonathan Lovecchio

Bicyle only doesnt make a rollerblader happy , not really a fan but maybe close off at times,like Espanola Way

Linette Nodarse
Linette Nodarse

Closing it will kill all the business on there now. There is no good food or retail. Make it one way north bound, switch the valet to the east side and control the sidewalk cafe umbrella problem that has gotten way out of hand. Happy medium people!!

Brandon Agosto
Brandon Agosto

Yea because public transportation is absolutely amazing in Miami.

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