Miami Beach officials prepare for massive crowds at Urban Beach Week

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Party preparations are underway for one of the biggest weekends of the year on South Beach. 7News took a look at how the city is getting ready for the crowds for Memorial Day weekend.

Miami Beach Police are anticipating some big crowds for so-called Urban Beach Week, this Memorial Day Weekend. Beginning Friday, officials will be closing Ocean Drive to vehicles from Fifth to 15th Street to make it easier for everyone to enjoy the event safely.

Officials have already barricaded the area along Fifth and Ocean Drive to control traffic, Thursday.

Visitor Ashley Duworth anticipate the crowds. “It’s going to be packed,” she said. “I know it’s going to be wild out here.”

Patriotic partygoers are ready to bump it up on a notch on South Beach. Some are coming to from Maryland and even Switzerland. “Going to the beach and some bars,” said visitor Albert Gridelo.

7News also spotted a few families in the mix who were ahead of the festivities for Urban Beach Week. “We’ve been given some warnings that it’ll be pretty hectic,” said visitor and father Matt Urquhart.

The Miami Beach Police Department is ready for anything that comes their way. “It’s Miami Beach – the party usually starts here or ends here, and we’re ready,” said Miami Beach Police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez.

Last year, it is estimated that more than 200,000 visitors visited South Beach over the holiday weekend, and police made about 200 arrests. “Drugs, DUI, public disturbances, disorderly conduct,” Rodriguez said of the range of arrests. “We’ve also had serious incidents where firearms are involved.”

As a precaution, officers will be saturating the hot spots in uniform and undercover. Neighboring agencies are even lending a hand to stop intoxicated drivers and maintain a safe environment. “Behave while you’re there, and we’ll all have a great time,” said Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales.

License plate readers will be on the causeways and a new traffic pattern will be in effect from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., which will hopefully create a smoother loop. “We have to treat it almost like a stadium. We only have so many seats here in the city,” Rodriguez said.

Asia Reed has family visiting South Florida and are expecting a fun weekend. “We have family coming down. We just wanna party and turn up all weekend.”

Police said beach cleanliness has also been an issue on big weekends like this, so they plan to enforce restrictions on items like coolers, floats and music amplifiers.

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