Washington Avenue Restaurants will Expand into Street for Socially Distanced Dining

Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Washington Avenue Restaurants will Expand into Street for Socially Distanced Dining:

Temporary reconfiguration to begin this week

Washington Avenue restaurants will begin expanding their sidewalk café operations into the street over the coming week. It’s part of an effort by the City of Miami Beach to help local restaurants serve as many customers as possible while social distancing requirements are in place. In May, the City received State and County approval to close or partially close sections of roadways to allow for the expansion of sidewalk cafés. 

The new configurations have been in place on Ocean Drive (above) since the middle of May with café expansions allowed when restaurants reopened on May 27. Though permits were received to reconfigure Washington Avenue, the group representing the area, the Washington Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) was initially concerned that not enough businesses would take advantage of the opportunity which would leave the street looking “empty and uninviting,” Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales told City Commissioners.

A new plan for a temporary reconfiguration of Washington Avenue from 6th to 16th Street was developed and, last week, Commissioners gave their approval. The transformation begins this week.

According to a memo Morales provided to Commissioners, the plan “enables Washington Avenue restaurants to expand, provides protected bike lanes in both directions, retains on-street parking where needed, and allows for one vehicular travel lane to remain open in each direction. Furthermore, given the requirement to social distance, the proposed street configuration will provide an opportunity for businesses to attract customers and, hopefully, stay afloat during the pandemic.”

“Miami-Dade County bus services and the Miami Beach Trolley service (once it resumes) will be temporarily relocated to Collins Avenue where parallel bus stops will be created, and bus benches will be provided for passengers,” Morales wrote.

Morales’ memo which contains block by block configurations can be found here.

 

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