MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – As Urban Beach Weekend rages on north of 5th Street on South Beach, residents living south of 5th say it’s been pretty much business as usual.
“It’s almost more enjoyable than usual,” said resident Gregory Valadie. “It’s just more quiet.”READ MORE: COVID-19 Testing Sites In South Florida
This is Valadie second year living on South Beach. He recalls last year’s Memorial Day festivities being much more chaotic.
“It’s not that bad as a matter of fact,” said Valadie’s neighbor, Raphik Ouahsine. “I’ve heard so many things about you know this particular Memorial weekend, and everything I’ve heard is not really what I’ve experienced. It’s pretty much like a regular weekend for me.”
Just blocks from the bustle of Urban Beach Weekend festivities, South Beach residents enjoyed their Saturday evening routines.
They rode bikes, walked dogs, or spent quality time with family.
“We prefer for it to be quiet and not be around all the people especially with the kids,” Linn Guerra said. “We just stay around home.”
Many residents packed up and headed west for the weekend, but some decided to stay put, despite the chaos and crowds nearby.
“A lot of people told me, you gotta get out of South Beach, you have to find a friend who lives in Brickell or somewhere else and stay with them for the weekend, and I was kind of concerned,” Ouahsine said. “But it’s not that bad.”READ MORE: COVID-19 Vaccination Sites In South Florida
Some say cops should get the credit for a decent weekend so far.
“There was a lot more traffic last year,” Miami Beach resident Darren Townend said. “The system they have in place with it all being one way is pretty good, because last year it was just chaotic.”
Police officers are standing guard at neighborhoods and restricting traffic to locals only. Drivers are being funneled along Collins Ave. or Washington St.
“We do have the traffic loop in place, which is catering to if we do have a lot of traffic coming in to the city, we want to control it a little bit,” said Miami Beach Police Det. Vivian Hernandez.
Even with the stepped up enforcement, some people just aren’t willing to join in on the fun.
“My feeling is avoid it like the plague,” Townend said.
For those not avoiding the party, they’ll have to wait in traffic on the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle Causeways. Both are reduced to one lane of traffic eastbound as cops use license plate scanners to check for stolen vehicles or drivers with open warrants.
Police arrested 24 people at a DUI checkpoint Friday night.MORE NEWS: Miami Police Captain Javier Ortiz Relieved Of Duty
93 people were arrested total on Friday, according to Miami Beach Police.