Ocean Drive Could Be Permanently Closed To Cars

Beach commissioners are toying with the idea of permanently closing Ocean Drive to traffic and converting it into a pedestrian-only street.

At a commission meeting yesterday, Mango’s Tropical Cafe owner David Wallack expressed opposition to the idea. Wallack said that many of the cafes on the street would immediately go bankrupt and be replaced by national chains, including fast-food restaurants.

City officials are working on hiring a firm to prepare a master plan for the street.

 

 

 

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Andrew
7 years ago

I’ve always thought they should do this. There’s no need or reason for the traffic on Ocean Drive. It’s mostly just people cruising by for fun and making it a pain for all the pedestrians, cramping everyone onto the crowded sidewalks. At a bare minimum, they should do flexible closures and when it gets too busy, block the street to auto traffic (similar to 6th Street in Austin, TX). Maybe not even the whole street, but the parts that usually have the most activity, such as 8th-13th blocks.

Steven H
7 years ago

Make it one-way, one lane going South. Closing it all together sounds like a bad idea. Ocean Drive is very popular. People love it the way it is. It is historical. People enjoy walking the crowded sidewalks, the resturants and bars are doing well, people enjoy driving the street taking pictures. It if is not broken, and actually working very well why close it? It is not like they could build buildings on the east side of the street.

Bad, bad idea IMO.

Craig
7 years ago

Steven, who are you, the arbiter of what people like? I’m sure many other people would like wider sidewalks, or more space for outdoor cafes, or less smell from constant emissions, or giving bicycle riders a safe place to ride in the street, or a number of other improvements that can be had without cars. It’s worth expirimenting with, if even on the weekends at first.

Steven
7 years ago

Sorry Craig. I guess you’re right, I am not allowed to have an opinion on the matter. Accept my apologies to you for having my own thoughts on the idea. Again so sorry for that.

JGD
7 years ago

I’ve often thought that this would be a good idea, though my perspective is as a near-by resident. I don’t need parking, and I don’t own a business on Ocean that depends on parking and traffic.

Craig’s idea of trying it on weekends at first is solid.

marc
7 years ago

I like the idea of a more spacious sidewalk and more room for the cafe’s as well as getting rid of the emissions but what of the hotel patrons? How will visitors get to their buildings carrying all their luggage without access to drive up service?

Ernie
7 years ago

Marc brought up the most valid point. How does a hotel guest check into a hotel with luggage if the street is not accessible by car. And at the same meeting the idea of closing Washington avenue to cars was also presented. Maybe everyone should take mass transit to and from downtown to the beach and hop on a deco bike for local transport – come on now.

Stephen M Fox Jr
7 years ago

I think making it a one way travel lane with a yellow lined area for pull offs of loading and unloading people would be a reasonable compromise. I’ve been a local for 7 years and I frequently, 2 – 3 times a week, take Ocean all the way down to 5th when I’m leaving the beach and not in a rush for no reason other than to take in the scene, people watch, see how crowded it is, and enjoy the breeze with my convertible top down. The car culture, along with strolling pedestrians, is part of the presence on Ocean Dr. After all, isn’t it said that Ocean Dr gave birth to the drop top ?

Darwin
7 years ago

This street has no value in terms of auto traffic throughput. We need to stop acquiescing to cars if weare to build quality urban spaces. Pedestrianize it from 5th to 15th. The cafés will do just fine, build a stage for the drag queens at palace while you’re at at. Let the cross streets come right up to it like the boardwalk in Hollywood. The bellhops can bring luggage from there. Stop making mountains out of molehills.

leon
7 years ago

A one way heading south is more reasonable, as Marc said, what about the Hotels?

Izabel Arocha
7 years ago

Make it a one way and 1 lane f bikes and mopeds

SobeResident
7 years ago

One-way plus a bike lane would be great to get the bikes and Segways off the boardwalk where pedestrians are constantly being outmaneuvered. The west side sidewalk should be widened to allow for more patio and walking space making both the business owners and pedestrians happy meanwhile Hotels will still be accessible.

Moose
7 years ago

Le ave it the way it is wtf!!!

Randy
7 years ago

Keep Ocean Drive a “Drive”!!!! We don’t need another Lincoln Rd where it’s turned into a commercialized shopping strip! There is a park lining the entire drive for pedestrian to walk. Part of the charm of Ocean Drive is the incorporation of all if it’s elements…beach, park, cars, hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, etc. Taking one of these elements away only takes away the character it’s known for. Part of its charm is also seeing drag queens stop traffic as they perform and passing by the resturant with the vintage car parked on the steet with the maniquine in it. Keep Ocean Drive a “Drive”!!!!

Carlos
7 years ago

Well said!!!

J.
7 years ago

Make it one way, but don’t close it down. Part of the charm of Ocean is double decker buses, and lost tourists driving along.

Evji108
7 years ago

Anybody that knows European cities, and knows how they have made their pedestrian zones work under much more difficult circumstances than Ocean Drive, knows that pedestrian only for Ocean drive is the wave of the future. There are ways to have limited access traffic for taxis, emergency and delivery vehicles even though it would be primarily pedestrian. What will really help make it work here is the fact that there is an alley directly behind, which needs to be upgraded for better servicing of the hotels and shops. For the USA perhaps the thinking is that pedestrian zones are an idea that failed in the 1960’s, but for much of the rest of the world they have adopted it in certain special high density touristic areas with great success. If it is thought through carefully and done well, with commitment from all concerned, it will make Ocean Drive ever so much more pleasant and enjoyable for everyone, including the hotels. Ocean Drive in high season is a nightmare of gridlocked cars, blasting stereos and air pollution. There is a better way.