Miami, Florida

"The Magic City" - City Information & Driving Tips

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 Miami, located in Miami-Dade County, is the 42nd largest city in the US, with City of Miami, Official Seala population of 419,777. According to the Census Bureau, Miami’s metro area is the 8th most populous and 4th largest urban area in the US, with a population of about 5.5 million.

Miami is known for being a major center in culture and entertainment, including arts and media. It is one of the main tourist destinations in the country, all year-round. Most of this is thanks to its weather, beaches, gastronomy, concerts, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention that Miami is one the biggest centers for business, holding a number one status (in the United States!) when it comes to having the largest number of international banks in one single city.

The Port of Miami is the number one port in the World when it comes to the number of passenger cruise ships that it accommodates, not to mention the busiest when it comes to passenger and cargo ships.

Driving in Miami

Driving in Miami, FloridaComplements aside, driving in Miami can be quite upsetting. Miami was voted (twice!) to have the rudest drivers in the United States. You combine that with all the bumper to bumper traffic, then you have an experience that can be pretty mind blowing, especially for tourists and “new” Floridians. Newcomers be advised: Choose a place to live that is close to your work. Right now there are tons of constructions happening in our highways and streets, to make traffic flow a little faster. Emphasis on the “little”.

Driving in Miami is not that complicated, especially since by now you have GPS, and even if you don’t, you can find comfort with the knowledge that if you have a compass, you can pretty much get anywhere. This is because Miami is laid out in a very “square” manner. If you get lost, just head East and you’ll get to the beach, unless I-95 finds you first. Here are some points for you to keep in mind when driving around in Miami:

Miami, Florida - Waterfront roadMiami Driving Tips

  • Streets that end in “Place”, “Road”, “Avenue” and “Court” usually run north to south
  • Don’t mind the honking! In Miami it is pretty much a second language
  • “Street”: If the address ends with a “street”, then you know it runs east to west
  • Streets in Miami are numbered. To get to 17th street, from 37th street, REALLY means you’ll just have to drive south 30 blocks.
  • Certain avenues and highways to follow the “square” drawing of Miami’s streets. You’ll have to consult your map, GPS, or that one friend of yours. Brickell Avenue and US-1 are examples of this
  • Know what time it makes more sense to use the highways. Rush hours in Miami are very hectic. Know what streets can be used in your drive home. You’ll still take quite a while to get home, but at least you’ll be moving, and not stopped in a highway
  • Miami Driving MapExpress lanes: Best gift ever. Thank you Mr. Mayor. Some time ago, you could only use the express lane if you were car-pooling. Well, that’s no longer the case. However, make sure you have a Sun Pass. Without one, you can still use the express lane, but you’ll be sent a small bill. Last time I didn’t have a sunpass, and still used the toll roads, I received a $5 dollar cute little bill. The toll was about 75 cents. So, again, take 5 minutes to draw a simple map of all the highways that go through Miami. Here’s an example of such map.
  • Back to the SunPass: IT MAKES SENSE TO HAVE ONE. Now more than ever, you can find use for it in most of the paid highways and Turnpike Expressway.
  • I-95: Usually packed during rush hours. Great way to drive through Miami, although it ends a little south of Downtown, where it meets US-1, and takes you into the Gables
  • Palmetto and Dolphin Expressways: Horrible, terrible roads to travel on. Always hectic, and not only during rush hours. It runs East-West through Miami-Dade County, and they would be great in theory. These 2 expressways can DEFINETELY force someone to move out of their homes into a place closer to work. It is that insane.
  • 112 is the expressway to the Airport. Start on I-95, and ends at the airport. Great way of going to the airport, and can also be used to get away from the Dolphin expressway. Also, look up Okeechobee to cut through Miami-Dade. I personally used it for years. Great short cut. Yes, there are tons of constructions where the Dolphin expressway meets the Palmetto expressway, but itwon’t be done for a while. A lot of people doubt it is going to help that much. But, let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Miami Metrorail - public transportationThere are a few other toll roads and expressways, but the main ones are listed above. It all comes down to this: If you live in Miami-Dade county or Broward county (but you work in Miami-Dade), chances are you have to plan your day around your driving schedule. There’s no way around it.

If you are willing to take a bus to go out, Miami has a great network of public transportation. The local bus system, while a little slow, can take you everywhere across the county. The Miami Metroral is a great way to get across the urban downtown Miami landscape, and can be accessed as far south as South Miami.

Here’s an update on construction projects surrounding Miami, according to (As of August 2014)

  • Road widening along I-95 continues at various locations throughout the project area. Up to three travel lanes are closed nightly in the work zone, between 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, and from 11 p.m. Friday to noon on Saturday. Entrance and exit ramps are closed as needed.
  • Installation of tolling and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) equipment is on-going throughout the project limits. Most work is being done behind barrier wall, away from traffic, during daytime hours and will continue for the next several months. When necessary, travel lanes are closed at night, between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., Sunday through Thursday and from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., Friday and Saturday.  Travel lanes on entrance and exit ramps and local streets are closed as necessary.
  • Bridge widening is ongoing along I-95 at Stirling Road, Pembroke Road, and Hallandale Beach Boulevard in Broward County and over the Snake Creek Canal in Miami-Dade County. Nighttime lane closures on I-95 and local streets occur as needed Sunday through Thursday, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Entrance and exit ramps are closed as necessary, during these times. Bridge work should be completed by fall 2014.
  • Installation of overhead sign structures is underway along I-95. This work requires closing I-95 in one direction at a time and detouring traffic between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.  Please check traffic conditions to see when these closures are scheduled.