As more college students flock to South Beach for spring break, officials in Miami Beach are expecting to face challenges with city services, staffing and resources.
City leaders set up several enhanced safety measures that will be in place during the "High Impact Period," February through April 12. A citywide midnight curfew is also still in effect.
More than 400 Miami Beach police officers will be working extended shifts. "The message is simple: vacation responsibly or go to jail," police spokesperson Ernesto Rodriguez told NBC 6.
Police commanders have warned that they expect this year's spring break to last longer and draw more partygoers, since many across the U.S. will be eager to escape the cold.
"They're pent up, they want to get away," said U.S. Police Chief Richard Clements. "They want to be able to relax for a couple of days. South Florida is probably one of the only places open for business."
The Coast Guard will also be working with Miami Beach police to stop party boats from bending the rules. Deputies say they are going to rely on Goodwill Ambassadors, civilians trained to tell visitors the rules and help keep them out of trouble.
"It's a big deal for us, because it starts to mitigate police contact with the persons here to have a good time," said Miami Beach Deputy Chief Wayne Jones. He said that most Goodwill Ambassadors are county or city employees who will be spending their weekend in the area for spring break.
Scroll down for a full list of the safety measures that officials have put in place.
In an effort to reduce the amount of traffic around the South of Fifth Street (“SOFI”) neighborhood, the Miami Beach Police Department will implement a traffic plan every weekend in March.
Drivers will be able to access the SOFI neighborhood only via Alton Road and Washington Avenue where police officers will be assigned to the two designated entrances.
License Plate Reader police details will be positioned on access points to Miami Beach, including the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle causeways. If necessary, the MacArthur Causeway will be closed to incoming traffic.
A $20 one-time flat parking rate per vehicle will be imposed at all city parking garages in the Art Deco Cultural District, except for access card holders. This includes garages at 7 Street and Collins Avenue, 12 Street and Washington Avenue, 13 Street and Collins Avenue and the Anchor Garage on 16 Street.
These garages will operate at 50% capacity. Once each garage reaches its capacity, security will limit access to card holders, city residents, area hotel guests and area employees. ID will be required to prove eligibility.
On-street parking will be prohibited along Collins Avenue in the Art Deco Cultural District, but on-street parking between Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive and 5 and 15 Streets will only be available to residents with a Residential Zone 5 parking permit.
ILLEGAL BOAT CHARTERS AND PARTY BOATS
In collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Miami Beach Police Department’s Marine Patrol will be enforcing local, state and federal laws with respect to vessel operations due to an increase in illegal charters.
Short-term rentals, where permitted, will be limited to a maximum occupancy of 10.
Staffing levels for Police, Code Compliance and Fire Rescue will be enhanced throughout the duration of the High Impact Period.
Miami Beach has launched a multi-tiered marketing campaign that includes geotargeted digital and social media advertising to better inform visitors during the High Impact Periods.
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