Pedestrians Briefly Take Back Miami Beach's Ocean Drive

Miami Beach reopened Ocean Drive to vehicles earlier this year at the request of hotel owners. So many pedestrians showed up to the famous street on a weekend earlier this month, however, that cars were blocked once again.

March 30, 2022, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Pedestrianized Ocean Drive, Miami Beach

Miami Beach residents and visitors are voting with their feet for something more like this for Ocean Drive. | Chris Ritter / Rendering of Pedestrianized Ocean Drive, Miami Beach

"Ocean Drive was 'organically' closed to car traffic over the weekend – forced by throngs of pedestrians crowded into the area," according to an article published by Next Miami on March 23.

The news of the street closure was first reported on the Twitter feed of Better Streets Miami Beach, a local active transportation advocacy group.

Ocean Drive was closed to automobile traffic in 2020 while cities all over the country and world were deploying open streets (or Al Fresco Streets) as a response to the lockdowns and relative lack of automobile travel during the first months of the pandemic.

Fast forward to 2022, and Miami Beach started allowing automobile traffic back onto Ocean Drive on January 24, 2022. It wasn't the first time the city tried to allow cars back onto the drag—they made a similar move around the 4th of July holiday in 2020—but he 2022 decision to reopen the street to automobiles followed a bitter battle, including a lawsuit, between local residents and hotel owners along the street. The Miami Herald reported on the legal controversy in a paywalled article published in January. A plan to permanently pedestrianize the street produced some beautiful renderings, but hasn't yet won the day. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022 in The Next Miami

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