Planning to attend the Miami International Boat Show?s inaugural event at the Miami Marine Stadium this holiday weekend? Then pay attention: You probably don?t want to drive to Virginia Key. There?s virtually nowhere to park. And that?s intentional.
Boat-show organizers have an $850,000 plan to ensure the five-day event won?t bog down amid a morass of traffic on the Rickenbacker Causeway, the only way in and out of Virginia Key and neighboring Key Biscayne, and it hinges largely on keeping the vast majority of local attendees? cars completely off the island.
The plan relies on tens of thousands of showgoers riding to the waterfront stadium site from mainland Miami on fleets of free water taxis and shuttle buses, some from points as far afield as the parking garages at Marlins Park in Little Havana. At the show venue itself on the environmentally sensitive island, there will be just 800 parking spaces for the general public, which must be secured in advance online, and a few dozen more valet spots at Whiskey Joe?s restaurant, the latter at $50 a pop.
And that?s it, for a show that expects a daily attendance of around 25,000.
Event organizers are calling their transportation plan one of the most ambitious ever in the history of Miami special events. It may also be a test of whether Miamians, accustomed to driving and parking everywhere they go, are ready to embrace a future involving lots more reliance on public transportation.
?It definitely will be a learning curve,? said boat-show director Cathy Rick-Joule. ?There?s no doubt about it.?
Check out the map below to learn more about the show transportation:
And the video: