Report says most used mass transit for Miami show

A report on the 2016 Miami International Boat Show’s transportation plan said 80 percent of visitors traveled to the show without their cars.

A report on the 2016 Miami International Boat Show’s transportation plan said 80 percent of visitors traveled to the show without their cars and Miami commissioners say that’s proof Miami residents can change the culture of using cars to get everywhere.

Alice Bravo, director of transportation and public works for Miami-Dade County, presented the city commission with a post-event report on traffic during the show. Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado had asked for the report.

Among the highlights: The average travel time on the Rickenbacker Causeway was 6 minutes; the average travel speed on the causeway was within the 40 mph range; and camera footage throughout the show showed that Key Biscayne travel lanes and the entrance to the causeway had no delays.

Boat show and Miami-Dade County officials said the roads saw a modest increase in motor vehicles, but no major problems from an influx of thousands of visitors, according to an article in Miami Today.

The show was held in February during the same weekend as the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, and critics predicted massive traffic jams and a potential cutoff of Key Biscayne from the mainland with the boat show traffic sharing Rickenbacker Causeway.

Miami city commissioners were impressed by details of the mass transit plan that the National Marine Manufacturers Association put into place, in conjunction with city and county police and officials, for the show, the newspaper said.

The boat show’s Maintenance of Traffic Plan was reported as effective, ensuring that traffic to and from Key Biscayne flowed throughout the event via lanes designated for Key Biscayne traffic.

“A hundred thousand visitors to the area, and 80 percent use mass transit. I think that’s pretty impressive,” Commissioner Frank Carollo said.

He said the success of alternate forms of transportation illustrated that “we can change the culture of using our cars” to get everywhere.

“It’s hard to dispute the facts and images. Kudos to the boat show people for taking it seriously, especially considering the water-borne transportation,” Commissioner Francis Suarez said.

The NMMA invested more than $800,000 in the comprehensive traffic plan, focusing a large part of it on the park-and-ride model, which proved effective. An estimated 80 percent of boat show visitors parked at designated offsite locations and arrived via shuttle bus or water taxi.

Visitors sometimes saw long lines at water taxi stops or shuttle bus stops, but the NMMA said the problems are easy to fix for next year’s show. The group is asking visitors and exhibitors for feedback to make sure next year’s show does not repeat those hurdles.