Miami Open

Get ready for some great tennis...and heavier traffic...as the Miami Open starts today, Monday, March 19, and runs through April 1.

This is it.

This year’s Miami Open is set for Monday, March 19-Sunday, April 1, and it marks the last time the event will be held on Key Biscayne at the Crandon Park Tennis Center.

That means saying goodbye to world-class tennis in the community’s backyard, but if there’s a silver lining, it’s an end to traffic woes.

Key Biscayne Police Chief Charles Press said he hopes residents head out to the tennis center to bid adieu to the Miami Open, and said his department is ready to work with Miami-Dade Police on facilitating as smooth a traffic flow as possible.

“Enjoy the event. It’s a world-class event, and it’s the last year on the Key,” Press said.

The Police Chief noted his department will have enhanced staffing throughout the tournament, and as always will be in close communication with the County on traffic control, with two main goals: to stop traffic as infrequently as possible to allow tournament-goers to cross the causeway from the parking lots to the venue, and to make sure officers are moving traffic out of the Village at the same time as traffic on the causeway is flowing.

Press added Key Biscayne Fire-Rescue will communicate with him on emergency access, noting if a fire truck or ambulance needs access to the causeway, County Police will end all east/west movement to ensure a smooth flow in and out of the Village for first responders.

Other than that, he said, residents should simply be aware of timing throughout the tournament.

Within the Village, Press predicted the most difficult times will likely be during school pickup, since police officers will be dealing with both school traffic and tennis tournament traffic. “Parents should expect to get there early and expect delays and should inform their children not to leave the schools if they’re waiting a little longer than usual,” he said.

Knowing when matches and sessions start and end is important for avoiding bad traffic on the causeway, Press added. Information is readily available at miamiopen.com and on social media, and Press said it’s a good idea to avoid the causeway if possible when matches and sessions are starting and ending, as tennis traffic will affect the roadway in both directions.

Finally, he said, residents should realize that the first weekend of the event is the busiest since there are matches going on around-the-clock and more players are still in contention. However, he warned, the final weekend will likely also be difficult on the roadways, since the Easter holiday will draw people to area beaches and Miami Seaquarium’s BunnyPalooza event.

“The holiday will have a profound effect,” Press said.

Miami-Dade County’s www.511southflorida.com and the Key Biscayne’s Village Information Notification System, available by visiting www.keybiscayne.fl.gov, will offer real-time traffic alerts throughout the tournament.

Meanwhile, residents as usual have plenty of options for getting to the tournament.

The Miami Open provides a free shuttle from Key Biscayne for residents and guests staying on the island. Shuttles typically run from 8 a.m. to the end of the last match on a continuous loop, stopping at bus stops on the Key and in Lot 4. There is no set time for shuttles, so residents can expect to wait for 20 minutes between rides and look for white vans with Key Biscayne signs in the front window.

Residents can also walk or bike – free bike racks are in Lot 4 – the roughly 1 mile to the venue.

Pedestrians and cyclists are prohibited from going north on southbound Crandon, and the tennis center South Gate will not be accessible to people on foot and bike. Instead, use the well-lit path on the northbound side of the street that leads to the main entrance crosswalk to the tennis center.

Press said one of the biggest focuses for his officers will be stopping people who try to walk or bike northbound on southbound Crandon, as doing so can be dangerous.

Local businesses don’t allow event parking in their lots, as it takes spots away from customers. Anyone who parks at a local shopping center to walk or bike to the event risks being towed.

Also prohibited is driving golf cart to the tennis center: there is no golf cart parking onsite and no lawful access for the vehicles, Press said.

Guests who drive to the tennis center have several parking options:

General parking, $15 per car, is across from Miami Seaquarium. Shuttles run continuously until two hours after the last match ends to take guests between the lot and the entrance; guests should allow at least an additional 30 minutes to their travel time for their arrival onsite.  ADA parking is in Crandon Park Lot 2, and is free with appropriate documentation. Shuttles will take guests to the venue. A variety of parking packages for Lot 2 or 3 are available by calling 305-442-3367.

All parking lots close two hours after the last match. Overnight parking is prohibited.

Taxi service is located at the entrance to Lot 3, directly across from the Main Gate; and guests who are dropped off and picked up should use Lot 6. The Brickell Metrorail service also goes to the tennis center; riders should use the bus stand at the Main Gate.

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