Miami Beach approves measures to clean up Ocean Drive

City commission adopts task force report on upgrading lighting, boosting police presence

Mar.March 09, 2016 03:00 PM

Miami Beach commissioners on Wednesday moved to address long-standing complaints of petty crime, out-of-control noise and sidewalks overcrowded with tables and umbrellas on Ocean Drive.

Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt the recommendations of the Ocean Drive Task Force, a group of business owners who approached the city about a year ago with complaints of deteriorating conditions on the iconic street.  

The task force submitted about 30 recommendations, including upgrading lighting, increasing police presence, and enforcing noise ordinances — especially from vehicles that cruise the street — and widening sidewalks on both sides of Ocean Drive, to improve pedestrian access.

Commissioners on Wednesday adopted most of the measures but declined to initiate a pilot program to move restaurant tables and umbrellas closer to businesses they serve. City officials said most tables and umbrellas couldn’t be moved because they are bolted into the ground. Commissioners did agree to examine widening sidewalks five feet on the west side of Ocean Drive and three feet on the east side of the street.  

The commission also agreed to include recommendations that noise ordinance violations coming from golf buggies and other vehicles cruising Ocean Drive be enforced. Police officials say they will do their best to enforce noise ordinances, but noted the difficulty of doing so, saying Ocean Drive “was awash in noise,” and stopping vehicles on Ocean Drive would cause further problems for traffic congestion. In May the commission voted to ban alcohol sales on Ocean Drive from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.  

Commissioners also agreed to extend the task force for one more year and noted that a pilot program launched in January to improve police presence and lighting on Ocean Drive had significantly reduced petty crime in the area. Commissioner Michael Grieco said that crime had been reduced by up to 60% between Thursday and Sunday nights saying, “We’ve heard the call, and what we are doing works.”   

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