Bicyclists are planning to celebrate the reopening of the Venetian Causeway on Feb. 29.
Miami-Dade transportation and public-works officials say the westernmost bridge of the causeway that links Miami to Miami Beach is scheduled to reopen that day. Crews are still finishing the $12.4 million construction job that saw a complete rebuild of a stretch of dilapidated bridge that was patched by metal plates in its weakest spots.
The Miami Bike Shop is promoting an “opening ride” for area cyclists to inaugurate the newly constructed bridge. According to a Facebook page for the event, riders will meet at 5:30 p.m. at the shop at 18th Street and Biscayne Boulevard. They’ll pedal across the Venetian at 6 p.m., turning around at the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach then ending at a happy hour at The Corner, 1035 N. Miami Ave.
Riders will be able to park their bikes at the Magic City Bicycle Collective, 1100 N. Miami Ave.
The Venetian has been shut down since June. Considered a safer and less rigorous ride than the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle causeways, the Venetian is flatter and carries slower vehicle traffic.
Darren Venditti, owner of The Miami Bike Shop, said the closure of the causeway significantly impacted the biking community. A South Beach resident, his commute changed from a calm ride across the Venetian to a drive across the MacArthur in his car.
Biking the MacArthur, he said, was more dangerous and more physically demanding. It also meant he would get to the office covered in sweat.
He added that for leisure riders, the trek wasn’t worth it.
“It’s something a lot of recreational riders did not want to do,” he said.