How Miami Beach hopes to fight spring break chaos
Miami Beach leaders hope to limit spring break chaos this March with a redux of past mitigation efforts including beach closures, DUI checkpoints and another curfew.
Why it matters: The city has long struggled to handle the heavy crowds during spring break, which often result in shootings and disorder.
Details: City commissioners voted Wednesday to direct the administration to implement a midnight curfew, close beaches at 6pm and jack up daily parking rates for tourists to as much as $100 at city-owned garages.
Be smart: Officials have already tried imposing curfews, restricting parking and enhancing policing in recent years — but they are moving forward with these efforts again.
- The key difference in 2024 is the preemptive vote to ask for a curfew, which typically has followed headline-grabbing violence.
What they're saying: "Year after year after year, as a collective body we fail to take tough decisions in advance," Commissioner Alex Fernandez said Wednesday.
Reality check: Commissioners don't have the authority to impose a curfew. That falls to the city manager, Alina Hudak, who can call for one if she issues a state of emergency.
- She didn't explicitly say in Wednesday's meeting whether she would do so, but said she agreed with the package of proposals.
- "We are prepared to implement all the items that are being discussed today at some level," she said.
Of note: Miami Beach will also bring back lane closures, DUI checkpoints and license plate readers along the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle causeways entering the city.
- Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez elicited chuckles when she suggested the city partner with a helicopter or boat service to help visitors bypass the gridlock.
The intrigue: Miami Beach is leaving some old mitigation ideas behind this year.
- A proposal to restrict alcohol sales in the South Beach area did not have enough votes to move forward.
- And the city won't be organizing any counterprogramming events, like concerts or fitness activities, to dilute the crowds.
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