South Beach drivers: Getting stuck behind a double-parked delivery truck may soon be a traffic frustration of the past.
The impact of new rules regulating when and where trucks can stop may start to be felt next week, when the city begins to issue warnings to commercial drivers.
The city has expanded loading areas where trucks can park, established a permitting process for delivery vehicles and has promised to ticket and tow rule-breakers, all in an attempt to keep traffic moving in South Beach.
“Simply stated: Miami Beach, the roads aren’t getting any bigger, and it’s an attractive place to come and bring your car,” said Commissioner Michael Grieco, who proposed the new rules. “We can’t control a lot of what goes on, but we can control keeping our streets clear so traffic can actually flow.”
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Under the new rules, loading is allowed only between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., unless deliveries occur outside of residential and hotel areas. Deliveries on Washington Avenue can only take place until 3 p.m. Streets between Ocean Drive and Washington Avenue, from Fifth Street to 17th Street, are impacted.
Miami Beach Parking Director Saul Frances said at a recent meeting that he or the city manager can change the hours when loading and unloading is allowed.
“It’s not a one-size fits all answer. There are going to be different pockets, or different areas of the city where we may be going longer, depending on what the makeup is of the area,” he said.
Deliveries are only allowed to take 30 minutes to an hour, though they can take longer as long as workers are “actively engaged” in loading or unloading, according to the rules.
To make it easier to follow the regulations now in place, the city has made more room for trucks to pull off of streets. Loading areas have increased from 31 zones consisting of 1,200 feet of curbside, to 35 zones consisting of about 3,500 feet of curbside.
“The problem in the past is the city did not make appropriate accommodations for delivery trucks, and what we’re doing is we’re not just saying, ‘Hey, get your trucks off of the road.’ We’re giving them places to put them,” Grieco said.
Permits for delivery trucks went on sale Monday, the same week street signs with the new rules are expected to be posted.
City employees and police will start ticketing drivers beginning Sept. 3. Violations include nonmoving violations like parking tickets, and moving violations for blocking the streets by double-parking.
The city hopes to make about $950,000 in permitting and violation fees in the next five years. That revenue will probably be offset by expenses of $750,000 for police enforcement and $55,000 in administrative expenses. The city expects to have to hire an additional employee to handle the new processes.
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