Feb 1, 2024 - News

How Miami Beach hopes to fight spring break chaos

Miami Beach Police escort revelers as they gather in Miami Beach. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

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.

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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