This viewpoint map distills viewpoints on an issue into digestible format to enable calm consideration.
… undistracted by people “arguing at you” :-).
In this case, below are reasons for supporting either:
- (a) Re-opening Miami Beach’s Ocean Drive to vehicle traffic, or
- (b) Keeping it closed.
- Scan a bulleted summary of all perspectives
- Dig into the details of each
- Consider ideas for compromise conveyed from the community.
- Review results of our survey on how many people support each of these viewpoints.
Our reporting does not imply our support for any view.
|RATIONALES WHY OCEAN DR SHOULD|
|||| RATIONALES WHY OCEAN DR SHOULD|
|SUMMARY OF ALL RATIONALES GATHERED|
|Ordered roughly by degree of support for each.|
Click on a rationale for more detail in respondents’ own words.
|DETAILS ON ALL RATIONALES GATHERED|
|Attributed comments are Miami residents (with permission) unless otherwise indicated. Unattributed are paraphrases (not verbatim quotes) of sentiment expressed in Miami Beach-focused online communities.|
|Empty streets attract misbehaving crowds and siphon them from spending money in businesses.||Back to top||Improves the experience of visiting the area|
|“One of our most attractive/ beautiful area[s], has become a fairground for selling drugs and prostitution!” — Gina Gonzalez|
“Crime is also up for residents on Collins.” — r/miami Redditor u/dollardumb
“Right now, it is a disgusting bourbon street atmosphere, especially with the CVS selling alcohol and cups for the cheap tourists to walk around and drink openly.” — Paula Allen
“OD is now a BYOB party zone with too much open space.” — Jean Holcombe
“Keeping traffic flowing on Ocean Drive moves the crowds onto the sidewalks and park walkway area and provides less of an area for large groups so form preventing possible fights and other crimes.” — Jeff Pose
“…The street party is embarrassing.” — Resident, Miami Beach
“[allowing cars will mean] less room for crime, drugs and sex trade!”
“The street party and failure to enforce laws is the main issue, so end it. Gotta let the vehicles back.”
“[Reopening to vehicles] would meaningfully shrink the space for gathering and facilitate crowd control and dispersal at curfew.”
“We need to encourage folks to spend dollars _inside_ the businesses, not just loiter outside.”
“The closure to vehicles is a complete mess!”
“Gotta end the block party.”
|“Ocean drive is 100% better without cars.” — Marc Stolowitz|
“Ocean Drive is a beautiful gem of a street with global recognition. If we have a more relaxing crowd, it would be perfect as a pedestrian street.” — Monica Matteo-Salinas
“I’m a tour guide and have been doing walking tours in the South Beach historic district for more than six years. The closure has greatly improved the walking experience and tourists love it. Previously the sidewalks were over crowded on both sides of the street during season and the cruising cars, motorcycles, and slingshots added to the congestions. Transforming Ocean Drive into a pedestrian friend street has enhanced the experience and the enlarged cafes make dining on Ocean Drive more pleasurable. Tourists who have visited before and after the change are amazed at the difference and love the new Ocean Drive. Many have commented that it’s the only good thing that has happened as a result of COVID.” — James Cubby
“The zone is a historical part of South Beach should be kept away from excessive traffic to let citizens of Miami Beach and tourists enjoy such a nice ArtDeco area” — Juan M Fernandez
“….Embracing our health by going for a walk or bike is the new way to experience a beautiful area. Studies show that pedestrian areas are higher in value to a city as more people use and love the space.” — Daniel Doughty
“All those stupid cars that would lap the 17 blocks over and over. This is way better.” — Erika Galan
“IMO it’s much better off as a pedestrian mall like Lincoln Road or Broadway in Times Square.” — r/miami Redditor u/Powered_by_JetA
“We get a lot of undesirables who [when Ocean Drive is open] just come down to OD to cruise, blaring loud music, and screaming out of cars.” — Jo Manning
“Opening Ocean drive to cars would just make it another loud, obnoxious road with a bunch of stinky cars, with idiot drivers constantly beeping at each other. As is, it is a nice place to go! With cars, it’ll be trash.” — Jon K-kamp
“With the vehicles absent, there is a renewed sophistication to our area, it feels more natural and healthy now. I’m willing to pay more, like in higher tips, if I can relax in my neighborhood, with calm.”
|Closure worsens traffic congestion in the entire area.||Back to top||Safer for pedestrians|
|“… please open it back up for me. We live on Collins & with Ocean closed & Washington no longer the bus route, Collins is more of a mess!” — Brooke Townsend|
“It has created an unwanted traffic to residential areas which has make our lives miserable!” — Gina Gonzalez
“Collins Ave is overflowing with traffic from Ocean and the changes to Washington Ave; it’s a parking lot. This is causing major issues for locals that live in the area.” — r/miami Redditor u/dollardumb
“[Reopening] lessens traffic issues for visitors getting to their hotels or restaurant reservations.” — Jeff Pose
“Our own police observed that the lost traffic lane on Ocean had beforehand eased traffic on nearby Collins and even drew away loiterers from there because some of them would go to Ocean.”
|“Ocean was always clogged and undrivable anyway. This gives pedestrians more options and makes it safer.” — Resident, Greater Miami|
“It’s also dangerous to pedestrians’ bodies as well as their ears.” — Jo Manning
“It’s safer now for just walking or cycling.”
“Man is it a pleasure to enjoy cycling or just strolling around and not being constantly stressed over cars side-swiping you.“
|Spillover increases problems in nearby neighborhoods||Back to top||Cars are unnecessary in that area|
|“Man, it is a mess for all the people who actually live in the area with intoxicated people now stumbling past our homes to find their cars.”|
“I don’t think it was foreseen, but the living environment has become dangerous along Washington and Collins as a result of the vehicle shutdown on Ocean.”
“All the cruising activity just relocated from Ocean to the next streets over.“
|“… Hotels that complain about loss of valet parking need to put their thinking caps on and figure out ways to deal with this issue. It is not Unsolvable!” — Jo Manning |
“There is not a reasonable rational for cars on Ocean.”
“So of course the crazies have always been in that area and will continue to be regardless of whether open/closed to vehicles, but the point is, the _cars_ were never necessary.“
“I can’t see the argument for cars needing to be on that street.”
|Ocean Dr. is meant to be a “drive”||Back to top||Reduces noise and pollution|
|“People love to cruise here. It’s all about the car & being seen. Ocean is the best place for that. It’s famous for it. 😁.” — Brooke Townsend|
“Tourist busses are not longer aloud to pass by to show such an icon area of our city.” — Gina Gonzalez
“I miss going down ocean drive on my scooter. I would always make at least one pass a day on my way to flamingo park or out to dinner in sofi.” — Buddy Knight
“Ocean _drive_ means … ‘drive.’ Hello? People worldwide come to South Beach and expect to drive that strip as a core part of the experience.”
“Ocean Dr. is just not its iconic self without cars.“
|“I really don’t like those car fumes or the obnoxious over-testosteroners gunning their motors.”|
“Reopen this to cars and we’ll just be back to the gross car throngs with the booming music and the show-off rides!”
“You know, it really wasn’t preferable back with the stopped-dead traffic and the jillion cars blasting the inconsiderately booming music.”
“Ocean Drive was a perpetual traffic jam.” — r/miami Redditor u/Powered_by_JetA
“For a change we can recline in Lummus Park and enjoy the weather instead of having to hear idiots cruise in their slingshots cranking noise and twerking on the cars.”
|Closure has complicated getting around the area.||Back to top||Increases walk-by/drop-in business for restaurants and retail|
|“The prohibition on cars has been a disruption for residents trying to simply get around the area.”|
“It is going to be so much easier to get around once Ocean reopens to cars. I run tours in the area for a living, believe me.“
|“… it brings business to the street/beach. People stop and venture into shops, bars, and restaurants.” — Jo Manning|
“One would expect that more _walk-by_ activity on the street would boost business activity?”
“It should be a boon to local retail and businesses. The atmosphere matters. If more pedestrians are drawn to the new experience, that will feed on itself. More visitors are going to want to experience the improved vibe.“
|Closure hurts business by reducing parking and drive-by traffic||Back to top||Local residents prefer it closed|
|“I can no longer go to Ocean Dr due to prohibition of vehicles, even though my car has handicapped plates. We used to go frequently to Cultural events at the Betsy and eat at several restaurants on a regular basis.” — Zelde Malevitz|
“With it closed to vehicular traffic I found myself going literally weeks at a time without getting down there. It’s sad.” — Buddy Knight
“People who otherwise would spend money are avoiding Ocean now because there is no way to park or valet their cars.”
“Businesses have already closed as a result of this.”
|“Please listen to the residents! The bar and restaurant workers don’t live here and should not dictate our neighborhood.” — Elaina Silanee|
“I have loved having it closed. It’s been great…. Born and raised 305.” — Erika Galan
“Closure is nice for bike riding in mornings.” — Resident, Miami Beach
“… have lived on MB for over 25 years! … It has been a pleasure to see people enjoying the street for a change.” — Jo Manning
“Just leave the street open to walkable traffic.” — Facebook user “Sol Gypsy”
“I live right on Ocean Dr, just south of 5th. I am so happy with the car prohibition in that area.”
“It’s like the local Miami Beachers are coming back into that zone!”
|There is already sufficient pedestrian space in Lummus Park||Back to top||Closure hasn’t increased crowds, just concentrated them.|
|“It’s not the open space on Ocean that causes any unique problems. Before all of this, Lummus Park existed right there with even broader open space and it worked, the walking and cycling and exercising coexisted right among the same drinking, drugs and loud music that suddenly everyone is so anxious about a mere few feet to the west on Ocean.“||“[If vehicles return] the block party is just going to shift somewhere else again; the crowds aren’t new; they are just relocated.”|
“It’s better to have the crazies concentrated [around Ocean Dr] than misbehaving all over the nearby neighborhoods.”
|Currently difficult for guests to reach hotels||Back to top||The closure has not worsened crowd behavior|
|“Hotel guests are not longer permitted to arrive with their luggage.” — Gina Gonzalez |
“If you let vehicles back on Ocean, patrons’ vehicles and taxis can easily reach all those hotels again.”
“Hotels have a right to street access…” — Resident, Miami Beach
|“The quality of the tourists is what makes the closed area a positive or negative thing. There is a social perception out in the internet/social media world that this is a place for debauchery and aggressive behavior. Venice Beach in California doesn’t have the same issues. I don’t see Atlantic City boardwalk having these issues. In Spain, there’s a closed promenade and they don’t have the same issues. If the tourists were predominantly polite, conscious, and respectful of themselves and of this city we wouldn’t have an issue…. Everyone is welcome here. Miami Beach has always been inclusive. I have been here since 1980s. What we don’t welcome is bad, rude, aggressive criminal behavior against our residents, businesses, and public property.” — Resident, Miami Beach|
“Look, this block party activity existed on Ocean and was going to continue to do so regardless of the closure to cars. Like, if it reopened right now, these issues that are upsetting people would continue in exactly the same volume and just as frequent.”
“We have to change the atmosphere, not open up Ocean Drive to cars.” — Monica Matteo-Salinas
|Especially difficult for handicapped/elderly to reach businesses||Back to top|
|“Many of us, full-time owner/residents, taxpayers are older and/or disabled. We do not have the choice of walking long distances or using bicycles….” — Zelde Malevitz|
|Worsens parking for patrons, deliveries and maintenance/repair workers||Back to top|
|“I worry that residents and retail in the area will be harmed by the lack of parking.”|
“Especially for deliveries and service personnel parking was already an issue. Commercial trucks like food suppliers, couriers, power, cable, utilities, etc, don’t have many options.“
|Closure needlessly penalizes drivers.||Back to top|
|“Please stop needlessly targeting and blaming the driving public.“|
|The closing is part of a corruptpolitical conspiracy.||Back to top|
|“The revised zoning and this new development is not in most of our interests. Should be obvious from recent past the negative impact that has on local small business. And they would hurt the residents for profit as well. Look around at all the dining places that have closed. They are chasing them all out, along with residents, so they can replace them with their own profit-making.“|
“The businesses exploiting Ocean Dr are the only ones profiting from this closure.“
|Closure diverts police resources into narrow zones||Back to top|
|“The security ( police force) that the government has to invest [is] standing on each corner, instead of patrolling all areas!” — Gina Gonzalez|
(“What if we tried this…”)
but make adjustments to address concerns.
but make adjustments to address concerns.
|“I do think it would be better off as a street open to relaxed traffic (speed bumps? Planted nooks sticking out to relax traffic as done in other countries on “slow streets”?)… not as a permanent pedestrian zone …. I don’t want to give the go ahead for noisy and reckless joyriding, I would just support opening it up to slow respectful traffic.” — Susanna P.|
“Get rid of the “sidewalk” and do Dutch streets. No raised curb. Like miracle mile in the gables” — Brett Koshel
“The sidewalk cafes that have taken over the street lanes need to go. It is a cheap look. The laws need to be enforced, it wouldn’t have been closed if there was a strong police presence.” — Paula Allen
“I was there last week and I thought, rather than open it completely immediately, try opening one lane to see it it alleviates any of the issues. Then, go from there.” — Alex Giassa
“We need code enforcement.” — Resident, Miami Beach
|“I believe there must be a plan that is based on proven urban planning. The temporary plan is not anything I would want to remain, but the professional plan I saw had many excellent components. Allowing one way, one lane would also be something to consider.” —|
“I do understand it makes some difficulties for the hotels located on Ocean Drive so I believe there has to be some allowances or adaptions to make that aspect more user friendly.” — Lori McElroy Donohue Colanduoni (visitor)
“… a reasonable compromise would be to make Ocean Drive from 5th to 15th street one way for vehicles to allow limited service and provide the additional restaurant and pedestrian space.” — Jimmy Bost
“Make it special!! #1 safe, #2 Clean! , #3 manage, police presence, #4 change the tolerance of anything goes. Make it special!” — Lisa Chizever
“I’d like to see a street car running along ocean, suitably Art Deco in style. Similar to the way that Oranjestad revitalized their high street by closing it to traffic and opening to pedestrians with a trolley system” — Craig Bailey
“The harm to local business must be addressed immediately. We need a thorough, carefully considered and workable plan.”
“Maybe we can create tons of programming focused on eco conscious healthy zen lifestyles and artist creative driven events…. Or sports focused events. We need to have a calendar of events for the entire year.” — Resident, Miami Beach
Survey Results (final)
What you’ve read above is written explanations of people’s reasons for believing what they do regarding vehicles on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach.
We wanted to know how many people held each of these views — which have the most support. Accordingly, we conducted a survey in August 2021. The intent was to (a) identify the full range of rationales people hold for their views and (b) roughly assess which of those rationales are most commonly shared.
Methodology details are at bottom. Be aware this was not a scientific survey; results are directional, not conclusive and should be considered in the context of broader data sources. We make no representations about its accuracy nor fitness for any purpose.
With those caveats, 76% of respondents reported residing in Miami Beach, 93% in Greater Miami, and these were their views:
- Support for reopening appears strongly driven by dissatisfaction over the otherwise empty street attracting misbehaving crowds and siphoning patrons into the street, away from businesses. The next most prominent concerns were increased traffic congestion and spillover of undesirable vehicle-related activity into nearby neighborhoods.
- Among those opposing reopening, 70% of support related to perceived improved quality of experience on Ocean Dr. without cars, in particular reduced noise and pollution, and improved pedestrian safety.
- Many in favor of reopening would support a compromise approach that both addresses concerns raised by opponents and still achieves some level of vehicle usage.
- Increased police enforcement was a recurring proposal on both sides.
- We discourage putting too much credence in the top-line result — that views are fairly evenly divided on whether to re-open. The small sample size and fact that question did not offer a compromise option (eg “re-open, but…”) cause us to doubt the granularity of that specific result.
Notes on Methodology:
The survey was conducted July 29 – August 20, 2021 within Miami-focused communities on NextDoor, Reddit and Facebook using a third-party surveybot executed through Facebook Messenger. 65 respondents participated. After polling where they lived, the survey inquired whether they supported reopening Ocean Dr. to vehicles or keeping it closed to such traffic. Based upon that answer, they were presented with a broad list of alternative rationales supporting the position they chose and asked to indicate which three among the list most closely aligned with their own views (the list of rationales differed based upon their answer to the first question and was randomly sorted each time). They were then offered the opportunity to additionally elaborate with free-form comments. If they conveyed rationales that were not included in the list earlier presented, those were then added to said list for future respondents to select from (this was actually rare).
Notable limitations of the survey:
- The survey did not fairly capture the degree of compromise sentiment. (a) It forced respondents to choose either support of or opposition to re-opening and offered no middle-ground option. (b) Initial versions of the survey did not offer many rationales that would be considered hybrid/compromise solutions. This was corrected partway through the collection period.
- Related to this is that the survey did not explicitly poll about time-phased alternatives. By default the initial question implies a permanent end-state of open or closed. This may have discouraged expressions of sentiment around multi-phased approaches (eg, do ‘A’ now, then roll out ‘B’ later).
- Small sample size.
- We believe this weakens accuracy on the first question (“which do you support?”) and are not confident drawing conclusions from it.
- However, we believe the sample size does not materially interfere with conclusions drawn from the second question (eg. “Why do you feel that way?”). Consensus clearly emerged around certain rationales and it was notably rare for respondents to report that their rationales were not already listed.
- There are demo- and psycho-graphic skews associated with the survey pool being online-only.
- It can be argued that attitudes may vary based upon whether respondents live or work specifically in the Art Deco Cultural District, as opposed to Miami Beach at large. The survey did not capture this narrower nuance.
This is an initiative of Project LISTEN, within e.pluribus.us. Learn more about Project LISTEN.