Protective concrete barriers being installed in Miami Beach

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Beach is taking safety measures in order to protect pedestrians against the threat of vehicles being used as weapons.

Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales discussed Mayor Philip Levine’s plan to install temporary concrete barriers along popular spots, beginning with Lincoln Road Mall.

“The city has recognized that vehicles like trucks and cars have become, unfortunately, a favorite tool of terrorism,” said Morales. “We recognize we’ve got soft targets here on the Beach, like Lincoln Road, where you have significant gatherings of pedestrians.”

The barriers on Lincoln Road will be installed at the eastern and western ends, high pedestrian traffic areas where it intersects with Washington Avenue and Alton Road, respectively.

The announcement comes five days after a speeding van killed 14 people and wounded nearly two dozen others in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas promenade. That terrorist attack unfolded in the wake of similar incidents across Europe in recent months.

“Whatever you’ve got to do, because this copycat situation, somebody’s just sitting in their room bored, thinking the same thing,” said South Beach resident Nelli Davis.

The string of violent incidents prompted Miami Beach leaders to become proactive in locations like Lincoln Road and elsewhere in the city. “We’re trying to take steps, both short-term and long-term, to address the risk with that,” said Morales.

Officials said temporary concrete barriers along Lincoln Road Mall will be placed to protect high-pedestrian areas while permanent solutions can be implemented. “There will be concrete barricades on Lincoln and Washington [Avenue], and Lincoln and Alton [Road], which are the two areas where vehicles can access with such speed,” said Morales.

Lincoln Road is not the only area being secured. “We’re actually installing bollards at each end of Española Way. That’s actually happening relatively soon,” said Morales.

Passers-by on Lincoln Road approved of the city’s plans. “I think it’s a good idea. I mean, you don’t want anyone to get run over,” said one woman.

“It does make me feel safer, yeah,” said Katerina Glavan. “I think so.”

One tourist said he understands why beefing up of security is a priority. “This is a place where families are gonna come, so that’s the idea of a location for an insertion to launch an attack because that’s the sort of people that want to attack innocent civilians,” he said. “That’s what they believe, so it’s a target. Everywhere’s a target, and everyone should be very aware that the threat is real.”

Another tourist was also pleased with the push for safety. “You have to block it, of course,” he said. “Whatever precaution you want to take, you should take it, because you never know what those animals will do.”

Morales said city officials are also exploring spots along Ocean Drive as other possible locations to install barriers.

Officials said the barriers will cost between $10,000 and $15,000 per spot.

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