Item Coversheet



TO: Neighborhood and Quality of Life Committee Members

Raul J. Aguila, Interim City Manager

DATE: February 24, 2021



This item is sponsored by Commissioner Micky Steinberg and was referred by the City Commission on December 11, 2019 to the NQLC for discussion.  The item was discussed at the March 4, 2020 NQLC meeting wherein the Committee recommended that the Administration pursue strategies to improve pedestrian safety on the beachwalk and return to the September NQLC meeting with an update.

Given the high amount of activity on the beachwalk, some residents have expressed concerns with safety due to conflicts with bicyclists, roller-skaters, skate boarders, and motorized devices. As such, at the December 11, 2019 City Commission meeting, Commissioner Micky Steinberg referred a discussion item regarding pedestrian safety on the beachwalk to the Neighborhood and Quality of Life Committee.

The Miami Beach beachwalk is one of the most popular shared-use paths in Miami-Dade County, generally located between abutting private properties on the west and the coastal dune system on the east and extending from South Pointe Park on the south to the city limit on the north.  The beachwalk is used daily by thousands of pedestrians, bicyclists, roller-skaters, and skate boarders for recreational and work-related trips.  The width of the beachwalk varies from 12 feet to 23 feet; however, most of the segments are limited to about 15 feet or less in width.

In 2012, via Ordinance No. 2012-3780, the City prohibited the use of personal electric assistive mobility devices (i.e. Segways) and other motorized means of transportation on the beachwalk, baywalk, cutwalk, and interior paths of certain parks.  The current rules and regulations on the beachwalk are enforced by the City’s police officers and park rangers.


The City’s beachwalk has been constructed in segments over several years with funding provided by the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) Transportation Alternatives grant program, a federally funded discretionary grant program.  Pursuant to the joint funding agreements executed between the City and FDOT for the construction of the beachwalk, the City cannot legally prohibit non-motorized vehicles, including bicycles, from using the shared-use facility.

To mitigate the safety concerns of pedestrians using the beachwalk and baywalk, the City’s Transportation and Mobility Department staff explored delineating separate lanes for pedestrians and other uses.  Based on the existing beachwalk width, however, delineating lanes is not feasible as it would not meet the minimum width required by FDOT for either use.  For example, to delineate a two-way bike path, a minimum width of 10 feet for bicycles would be required. With the high number of pedestrians using the beachwalk, a desired width of 12 feet would be desirable to delineate a two-way path for pedestrians.  Thus, a minimum continuous width of 22 feet is desired to safely segregate pedestrians and bicyclists on the beachwalk.  Additionally, given the decorative pattern of the beachwalk pavers, pavement markings were considered to not be context-sensitive or aesthetic and, thus, are not recommended.

Pursuant to the NQLC’s recommendation at its March 4, 2020 meeting, various city departments, including Police, Communications, Property Management, and Transportation and Mobility, coordinated to develop an approach to address the pedestrian safety concern on the beachwalk.  City staff visited the beachwalk during March and April 2020 to survey the existing signage and determine potential locations for additional signs and markings.  Based on staff’s field reviews, it was determined that additional signage was warranted.  An inventory of the existing signage was mapped to assist in the development of a comprehensive signage plan for the area.  The design of the community-friendly signs was shared with the Mid-Beach Neighborhood Association (MBNA) at its June and July 2020 meetings for endorsement. 


At the September 23, 2020 NQLC meeting, the Transportation and Mobility Department staff presented a signage plan.  The signage plan consists of 1) regulatory signs at entrances to the beachwalk and baywalk to deter electric/motorized vehicles from entering the facilities, and 2) community-friendly advisory signs along the beachwalk and baywalk to advise lawful users to slow down and yield to pedestrians.  The regulatory signs depict specific electric/motorized mobility devices which are not permitted on the beachwalk or baywalk and reference the applicable section of the City Code (70-67).

The NQLC recommended that staff proceed with the production and installation of both the regulatory signs and the community-friendly advisory signs.  The Committee also recommended that staff meet with a resident, Mr. Henry Stolar, to review his recommendations for placement and provide an update at the December 2020 NQLC meeting; however, the item was deferred in December 2020 and January 2021.


Since the September 23, 2020 NQLC meeting, staff completed a comprehensive walkthrough of the entire beachwalk with Mr. Stolar in October and November 2020 to obtain his input and refine the signage plan.  Based on Mr. Stolar’s input, staff refined the signage map (attached).


Staff completed the installation of 60 advisory signs along the entire beachwalk to advise users that the area is a pedestrian-friendly zone where users of permitted/non-motorized devices such as bicycles, skates, and skateboards, must slow down and yield to pedestrians.


In advance of Spring Break, and to enhance public safety for beachwalk users, the City is installing the new regulatory signs along the beachwalk to assist Police with enforcing applicable provisions of the City Code, City and County Emergency Orders, and the measures imposed pursuant to the High Impact Ordinance.  Signage will include Section 70-67 of the City Code, which prohibits the use of motorized mobility devices on the beachwalk.    

With the increased use of the beachwalk, the Miami Beach Police Department previously deployed on-duty personnel to foot and bicycle enforcement details throughout the length of the Beachwalk, complementing a 30-day watch order at specific “hotspots”.  An additional enforcement detail by the RDA Commander is now being established to further address area issues with officers initiating warnings and escalating to enforcement as necessary when violations of the soon to be completed City signage are observed.  Additionally, each Area Commander will be setting up dedicated details through Park-and-Walk assignments to further enforce signage citywide throughout the length of the Beachwalk.

Staff will track enforcement statistics and observe user behavior to gauge effectiveness of the signs and if further adjustments or action is warranted.  The Administration is also pursuing a safety/educational campaign in collaboration with hotels and condominiums along the beachwalk and baywalk.


The City’s beachwalk is a highly utilized shared-use path that serves recreational and work trips throughout the City; however, its popularity coupled with its constrained width contributes to frequent conflicts among pedestrians, bicyclists, and other users.  Due to FDOT requirements governing shared-use paths constructed with federal grant funds, the City cannot legally prohibit bicycles and other non-motorized means of transportation on the beachwalk.  Recently, however, motorized devices, including electric bicycles, e-scooters, and powered skateboards, have been reported on the beachwalk and baywalk although these devices are not permitted by City Code.


To help mitigate the safety concerns, Transportation and Mobility Department staff developed a signage plan consisting of 1) regulatory signs at entrances to the beachwalk and baywalk to deter electric/motorized vehicles from entering the facilities, and 2) community-friendly advisory signs along the beachwalk and baywalk to advise lawful users to slow down and yield to pedestrians. 


Staff has conducted various walkthroughs with Mr. Henry Stolar and, based on his input, adjustments were made to the signage plan.  Sixty new advisory signs have been installed along the beachwalk at the locations identified in the signage plan.  In the coming days, staff will finalize the installation of all regulatory signs at beachwalk and baywalk entrances as well as along both facilities pursuant to the signage plan.  Police is actively enforcing the regulations.  Additionally, staff will monitor enforcement statistics, work with hotels and condominiums along the beachwalk and baywalk on education, and observe user behavior to gauge effectiveness of the signs and if any further adjustments are warranted.

Applicable Area

Is this a "Residents Right to Know" item, pursuant to City Code Section 2-14? Does this item utilize G.O. Bond Funds?
No No 

Strategic Connection

Mobility - Improve the walking and biking experience.
Attachment -Revised Signage PlanOther