City leaders, businesses prepare for Memorial Day crowds on Miami Beach

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Everyone from law enforcement to business owners on Miami Beach are getting ready to host two big events this Memorial Day weekend.

City leaders said the holiday weekend is one of the biggest ones happening on Miami Beach, especially with the young crowds coming in for Urban Beach Week. This year, however, leaders said they want to attract families to join in the fun too.

Visitors from New Jersey, Delaware and Illinois have already started to pour into South Florida for the weekend, and it’s only Wednesday.

The annual Urban Beach Week is expected to draw a young crowd, along with some of the biggest names in hip-hop. “It gets crazy. It gets kinda congested, but it’s all fun and love,” said Dominique Ellis, who’s visiting from Chicago.

The chaos from summers past now have Ocean Drive businesses on their toes and increasing staff. “Last year was kind of crazy, but this year, we got it under control,” said Andrew Medina, with Fat Tuesday. “We’ll be able to handle everybody at the same time.”

Police are also going to be out in full force. “Every one of the 390 police officers who wear this uniform will be working, and we’re bringing about 150 additional police officers from around the county a day,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates.

With the family-friendly Air and Sea Show joining the list of events this year, the City of Miami Beach is hoping that South Beach has something for everybody.

“We’re changing the narrative in a positive way,” said Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales. “It’s not a message of ‘certain people shouldn’t come here.’ It’s a message of ‘everybody should come here and enjoy it.'”

Consider the show a national salute to America’s heroes. Planes will take over South Beach skies to perform stunts in the air and on the water.

“We’re doing our best to anticipate when the crowds will be here and how to manage, what we think is the biggest challenge, which is traffic,” Oates said.

Police said the traffic loop has worked for the last four years and will once again be in place on both Saturday and Sunday.

To keep traffic moving in one direction, motorists will be guided to drive northbound on Collins from Fifth Street to 17th, and then back southbound on Washington Avenue. Ocean Drive will be closed off to traffic.

“Absence of traffic and vehicle, pedestrian sort of conflict in crowds creates a very different environment,” Oates said.

No Parking signs were already in place along Ocean Drive, Wednesday, to warn drivers that they cannot drive nor park along the roadway starting on Friday at 7 a.m. Those parking changes will run until Tuesday at 7 a.m.

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