Riders, Runners Celebrate Re-opening Of Venetian Causeway
After months of being closed for repair, the Venetian Causeway opened for all vehicle traffic at midday Monday.
The causeway linking downtown Miami, the Venetian islands and Miami Beach is popular among cyclists and pedestrians for its reduced speed limit and views.
"The Venetian, it's just a much safer route — and it's the only one," said Laura Parsons, a cyclist and employee of the Miami Bicycle and Pro Shop.
After finding out a few weeks ago that the causeway would re-open, Parsons and her co-workers decided to celebrate the occasion. They set up a Facebook event page calling on cyclists to meet up outside the bike shop at 5:30 p.m. and start riding at 6 p.m. — rush hour.
"I understand it was probably an inconvenience," Parsons said, "but we were inconvenienced for nine months."
Motorcycle police from the Miami Beach Police Department stopped traffic and accompanied the cyclists from NE 18th Street and Biscayne Boulevard to NE 16th Street and across the entire causeway, where cyclists were met by more Miami Beach officers controlling traffic.
The 90-year-old bridge was closed last June to replace the entire westernmost bridge along with other structural repairs. The work cost $12.4 million and was completed on schedule and budget, according to Miami-Dade County.
Muhan Zhang, a 23-year-old software engineer, last rode the causeway the day before it closed last June. He said the road connecting Miami Beach to the mainland is one of a kind.
"It is just island after island of beautiful ornate houses," he said. "You see boats, you see tiny little docks and piers, the ocean. You get to see the skyline between Miami Beach and Miami proper. It's been so long since I've ridden it, but it's probably definitely one of my top favorite things about Miami."