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Miami Beach launches Ocean Drive pilot program

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Designed to create a more friendly pedestrian experience

The bright neon lights of Ocean Drive hotels in South Beach
A night on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach
via Leonardo Da Silva/Flickr

Beginning this Friday will be a four-week pilot program in South Beach by the City of Miami Beach and Ocean Drive stakeholders in an attempt to “create a more friendly pedestrian experience along Ocean Drive,” per a press release unveiled by the city on Monday.

From 5th Street to 11th Street, Ocean Drive will become a one-way road — heading south — from 8 p.m. through 5 a.m. the following morning on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This weekend’s plan will remain in effect through Tuesday due to the holiday weekend.

“This pilot aims to add an additional five feet of extended walkway for pedestrians to enjoy, and provides a safer experience along this portion,” said Ocean Drive Redevelopment Specialist Amy Mehu. “This was one of the many recommendations of the Mayor’s Ocean Drive Taskforce.”

Parking on Ocean Drive will also be reduced on the eastern side along that six-street corridor as visitors will be encouraged to park in several nearby garages on Collins Avenue.

The program looks like a potential alternative to Mayor Philip Levine’s proposed alcohol and noise policy, which has enraged local business owners. Several weeks ago, a group of businesses in the area filed a lawsuit against the city in an effort to halt an upcoming referendum that will ask voters if they’d like to cut off alcohol sales three hours earlier than the current 5 a.m. policy.

The Ocean Drive initiative will be evaluated and modified as needed on a weekly basis.