Art Basel and dozens of satellite fairs and events attract an array of artists, collectors and appreciators, from the well-heeled jet set to the humble local enthusiast.
But as thousands descend on one of Miami’s signature cultural events, driving will probably be more nightmarish than usual.
Loads of cars could clog Miami and Miami Beach’s streets throughout the six days of cultural events, known collectively as Miami Art Week. To avoid the morass, local agencies will deploy extra trolleys, shuttles will run between the Beach and the mainland, and Uber will run a free ferry across Biscayne Bay. Uber and Lyft — both now legal here — will have assigned pickup and drop-off areas in South Beach.
Miami-Dade will extend hours for the Metrorail and Metromover, which will run until 2 a.m. Thursday through Sunday.
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Even one of last year’s bugaboos, the Venetian Causeway, will be open for cars, bikes and pedestrians. The western drawbridge was closed for complete reconstruction during last year’s festivities. Even though officials just closed the eastern drawbridge on Nov. 14 for mechanical repairs, the county paused work and reopened the bridge Wednesday afternoon. Through Art Week, it will remain open for traffic — including a new free shuttle loop running from the Omni parking garage to the Miami Beach Convention Center.
In short, there will be plenty of options for you to ditch your car and use public transit or Uber or Lyft. And even if surge pricing gets out of hand, you can always call a taxi.
Shuttles and rails
Several shuttles will connect Miami to Miami Beach and provide access to trolleys in each city. Shuttles in both cities will move people around various satellite fairs in Little River to Midtown to Wynwood and to Art Basel in the Miami Beach Convention Center.
▪ Unlike last year, when the Venetian Causeway was shut down at the west end, the route will be open for traffic. A new shuttle will run from the Omni parking garage at Biscayne Boulevard and 15th Street across the Venetian to Meridian Avenue and 18th Street, near the convention center. Another new shuttle will take visitors from the parking lot at Haulover Park down to the convention center.
▪ Miami-Dade’s public transit will also extend its hours. The county debuted longer weekend hours for the Metromover and Metrorail about a month ago, extending regular Friday and Saturday service to 2 a.m — a permanent change. The same hours will apply on Thursday, Dec. 1, and Sunday, Dec. 4, for Art Week.
▪ The county will bring back the Art Express service, with 15 buses wrapped in colorful designs created by artists like Ileana Collazo, Daniel Fila and David Le Batard (Lebo). The Art Express buses are expected to arrive every 15 minutes at various stops along a route linking Midtown Miami to the Beach convention center. The special buses will run from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 4.
Alice Bravo, Miami-Dade’s transportation director, said county staff will be watching social media to respond to riders who have any questions or concerns. Twitter users can use #IRideMDT to get the county’s attention.
Last year, for example, more Art Express buses were rerouted to a stop in the Beach where a large crowd had gathered.
“We’re interacting with the public,” Bravo said Wednesday. “We’re able to react in real time.”
Bravo encouraged visitors to download the county’s transit app, MDT tracker, and use its functions to plan trips and track all of the system’s buses and trains in real time. The Art Express route will be numbered Route 143 in the app.
Uber, Lyft, ferry and more
The recently legalized ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft will have pickup/drop-off zones outside Art Basel Miami Beach. Uber riders can catch their rides in the 1700 block of Convention Center Drive. Those using Lyft can find their vehicles in the westbound lane on 18th Street next to Miami Beach City Hall.
A new upgrade from last year: a free ferry across the bay sponsored by Uber and Effen Vodka. The “UberBOAT” will carry up to six passengers per request between the Sea Isle Marina at Bayshore Avenue and Northeast 16th Street in Miami and the dock at Purdy Avenue and 18th Street in Miami Beach. Last year, the ferry cost $35.
Some individual fairs will have their own shuttles. One tour will explore the Art of Black, which showcases art from African-American artists at several locations. The Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism tour will run from noon to 8 p.m. Dec. 1-4, with shuttles taking passengers from the Golden Glades Tri-Rail station, 16000 State Rd. 9, to stops in Opa-locka, Little Haiti, Wynwood and Historic Overtown on a tour called the “Art of Black.” A daily pass costs $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. To book passes, visit www.chatmiami.tours
▪ UberBOAT will be available from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday to Saturday.
▪ Departs from Purdy boat ramp (Maurice Gibb Memorial Park) in Miami Beach and lands at Sea Isle Marina in Miami.
▪ The ride across the water with UberBOAT is free. There is a vehicle fare if transport to and from the boat docks is needed.
▪ Request UberBOAT in your app when you are in the UberBOAT Zone. The zone in Miami is from east of I-95 from 40th Street, north of I-395, south to 13th Street. The zone in Miami Beach stretches from the bay to the ocean from 50th and Collins to South Pointe Park.
▪ UberBOAT is available for groups of up to six riders.
▪ If connected, the group will be transported in a Miami Art Week LUX SUV to the corresponding UberBOAT Dock, where it will be met and escorted by an UberBOAT Host.
▪ You will board a luxury yacht and be taken to the opposing UberBOAT Dock.
▪ A driver will then take your party to your final destination within the UberBOAT Zone.
▪ Your final destination needs to be in the opposing UberBOAT Zone to be included in your fare. If you will be traveling outside the zone, you will need to request another car at the end of the boat trip.
METROMOVER AND METRORAIL
▪ Metromover and Metrorail will run until 2 a.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
MIAMI-DADE ART EXPRESS SCHEDULE
▪ Free buses arrive every 15 minutes from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
▪ Route: Miami Beach Convention Center to 41st Street in Mid-Miami Beach to Design District and Midtown
- Miami stops: 29th Street and Midtown Boulevard, City View garage
- Miami Beach stops: Meridian Avenue and 18th Street, 42nd Street garage
▪ Connects with Miami Trolley and Miami Beach Trolley
MIAMI TROLLEY ROUTES
▪ Wynwood Route: From the Adrienne Arsht Center Metromover Station to the Wynwood Walls to Midtown Miami. Monday through Saturday 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
▪ Art Week North Loop: From Northwest 36th Street and Second Avenue to Northeast Second Avenue, to Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 82nd Street. Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
▪ Biscayne Route: From North Bayshore Drive and 15th Street to North Miami Avenue and Northwest 38th Street. Monday through Saturday 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
MIAMI BEACH SHUTTLE ROUTES
▪ Venetian Loop — from Omni Garage in Miami to Meridian Avenue and 18th Street in Miami Beach
▪ Inner Loop
- South Beach Stops: Ocean Drive between 10th and 11th streets, Meridian Avenue and 18th Street, Collins Avenue and 22nd Street
- Middle Beach Stops: Royal Palm Avenue and 41st Street, Collins Avenue and 46th Street
▪ Outer Loop between Convention Center and Haulover Park
MIAMI BEACH TROLLEY SCHEDULE
▪ Alton-West Loop between Alton Road, Lincoln Road, West Avenue and Fifth Street. Monday to Sunday 8 a.m. to midnight.
▪ North Beach Loop between Allison Park, Publix on 69th Street, North Shore Open Space Park, Stillwater Park, North Shore Branch Library, Crespi Park, North Shore Youth Center, Normandy Isle Park and Pool and Walgreens on Biarritz Drive.
Monday to Saturday 6 a.m. to midnight; Sunday 8 a.m. to midnight.