Some of you may have heard that the Venetian Causeway will be shut down for an extended period of time. Head on over to the Belle Isle Blog for more background information.

The upshot is that due to lack of maintenance (before you place blame fully at the people at Public Works and Waste Management, consider that the political leadership in Miami continues to push for lower taxes and this is pretty much what you end up getting), the westernmost part of the bridge must be demolished and replaced. The problems surfaced when a Miami Dade County bus crossed the Venetian Causeway and got stuck and a hole opened up. After a brief closure, new weight limits mean that County buses are unable to cross the Causeway, leading to a increases in travel times for those working on the islands.

The bridge won’t be closed for another four to six months and will then be shut down to all traffic for about six to nine months. This report was confirmed at a recent meeting with Public Works and Waste Management department staff. And given the track record of recent projects, things must be going well. Residents, visitors and workers (some of whom may not have another means of transport) use the Venetian Causeway as the only viable – as in not completely unsafe – option to access South Beach. The other two options – the MacArthur Causeway and the Julia Tuttle Causeway managed by the Florida Department of Transportation – are not recommended routes, despite FDOT having put bike lanes on them (we have asked FDOT District 6 head Gus Pego to bike those routes with us to show that he considers them safe, so far he hasn’t taken us up on the offer). Add the current construction project on the MacArthur and the convoluted access to the sidewalk that leads to the bike lane on the mainland side as well as our usual crazy Miami drivers and making the trip by bike increases your chances of serious injury or fatality to an unacceptable degree (as if the current situation wasn’t already bad enough).

We suggest that the County do the following:

  • provide options for those unable to get to Miami Beach by increasing bus service to Miami Beach and the islands by way of Miami Beach;
  • consider adding trailers to buses so that those needing to go to Miami Beach do not have expose themselves to the dangers of either the Tuttle or the MacArthur Causeway (for examples, look here, here and here¬†- and yes, being able to lock bikes would be good, this is Miami after all); and
  • keep the public informed on the progress of the construction and the available transportation options.

We would like to find out what other – serious – ideas you have that the County could take up. Please feel free to add comments or send us an email.

 

 

13 Responses to Venetian Causeway to be shut down – your input needed!

  1. TransitDave says:

    Of course the NIMBY crowd will have none of it, but the venetian would be a far superior route for the BAYLINK, and be a more direct ride to the convention center……And would also be an even better reason to rebuilt and upgrade it…….Granted the current route would be much more scenic……….

       0 likes

  2. Wanda Mouzon says:

    The City could set up a free temporary ferry service from the mainland to SoBe.

       0 likes

  3. nikki says:

    The County should supply rentable Shuttle Bikes!
    http://www.shuttlebike.it/

       0 likes

  4. nikki says:

    The County should supply rentable Shuttle Bikes!
    It works with the bike you already own. :D

    http://www.shuttlebike.it/

       0 likes

  5. Rima says:

    Sooooo let me get this straight…with Venetian shut down…how will those residents get to the mainland? Driving thru Miami Beach I suppose? Where Alton Rd is still shut down? Wow, this is gonna be a mega traffic nightmare. Can’t they keep at least one lane open?

       2 likes

  6. gregory says:

    If the elected officials and residents of Miami Beach had any logic, they could try hard to bring a elevated rail system to Miami Beach. The proposed baylink is at street level and will only add to the traffic nightmare. But then again Florida as a whole lacks the logic to cope with a ever growing population and fails to increase elevated rail.

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  7. Vote No to soccer on Port says:

    Imagine 1,000,000 sq ft of development and a soccer stadium at PortMiami? Soccer with 25-27 home games on Saturday nights? Prime time. Gridlock on the Venetian, MacArthur…41st St Causeway…

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  8. B says:

    Markus, I can think of two possible options, not necessarily mutually exclusive:

    1.) Implement bus lanes on the right lanes of the MacArthur. The problem is not bus frequency–it is bus reliability, when they get stuck in traffic. Busses overcrowded with 40 people should NOT be waiting behind cars with only the single drivers.

    2.) Set up a temporary ferry service for pedestrians, transit riders, and cyclists between the venetian isles and the marina on the mainland side. Water Taxi Miami is set up to do this as they already use that marina as a stop. Is a public-private partnership possible here?

       4 likes

  9. MIke Arias says:

    I fully concur with the temporary water taxi service proposed by a reader would be an excellent idea during the interim period the bridge is repaired or replaced and perhaps should also be considered as a long term concept solution as well since this would alleviate traffic congestion on this connector bridge over from the mainland over to Miami Beach and vice versa.

    Another long term and cost effective proposal and solution which I do not understand why aerial tram cars like those in use in Ober, Gatlinbergh, Tennessee and in Europe as well have not been previously utilized in South Florida since they can travel at a max speed of 17 mph and transport a max of 120 passengers ( 3 times the capacity of a transit bus or the people mover cars currently in use in downtown) that has to stop at either every or every other block to either pick up or drop off passengers creating the potential for rear end collisions to occur on the roadways as well adding additional traffic congestion and delays for the commuter riders as well as adding tons of emissions gases which are released into the atmosphere.

    Can you imagine hopping on this aerial pollution free vehicle and traveling over the breath taking views of Biscayne Bay and in less than 10 minutes being at your destination either from mainland to the beach or vice versa on a daily basis ?

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/Ober_Gatlinburg.jpg

    Thank you for your time !

       1 likes

  10. David says:

    Palm Beach has had similar problems with aging bridges and its solution was to put up temporary bridges next to the bridges that were being replaced. I don’t know if that would be possible here because the layout of the roads might be a problem, but that solution would be the only way to mitigate the dramatic impact on traffic and public safety that a complete closure would have.

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  11. Alex says:

    Your comments range from sensible to visionary. We need to get these blockheads at FDOT, county and city level either with the program or out of office so we can get moving on more democratic and sustainable transportation alternatives.

       0 likes

  12. B says:

    Another thought that would be relatively cheap and easy to implement. For most of the MacArthur there is space to move the bike lanes a few feet right to create protected bike lanes. The only thing that I can see preventing this is that the metal drainage grates are several inches below the road surface. All that would be needed is replacing the grates with something like these: http://eng.lacity.org/projects/BikeGrates/photo.htm. Then a bit of paint, and we’ve got protected bike lanes!

       1 likes

  13. B says:

    Another thought that would be relatively cheap and easy to implement. For most of the MacArthur there is space to move the bike lanes a few feet right to create protected bike lanes. The only thing that I can see preventing this is that the metal drainage grates are several inches below the road surface. All that would be needed is replacing the grates with something like these: http://eng.lacity.org/projects/BikeGrates/photo.htm. Then a bit of paint, and we’ve got protected bike lanes! Who do we write to to request this???

       0 likes

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