Fort Lauderdale’s world-famous beach has hosted spring breakers for the past two weeks, and because of increased traffic and large crowds, police are asking drivers to avoid State Road A1A when dropping off or picking up friends.
“Traffic is a major issue and it is moving slowly on A1A along the beach,” said Casey Liening, a spokeswoman for Fort Lauderdale police. “Ride-sharing use seems to be up.”
East Las Olas Boulevard and East Sunrise Boulevard — used by eastbound drivers traveling to the seaside — are often backed up, too.
And the parade of beautiful young people who are wearing the latest styles in swimwear is a big distraction.
“Drivers checking out the crowd are slowing traffic down,” Liening said.
Spring Break — which police say began March 1 and ends April 7 — likely will run its course before authorities tally arrest statistics.
Approximately 20 extra patrol officers, motorcycle officers and the mounted unit are working at the beach each day while the college kids are in town. So far, the majority of offenses leading to arrests involve narcotics, and most of the tickets have been written for drivers who obstruct traffic or don’t wear seat belts, Liening said.
Users of e-scooters seem to have heard about the city’s temporary ban on riding them at the beach and are keeping to the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway.
“For the most part, scooters are staying off the barrier island,” Liening said.
Pedestrians are being kept behind barriers that keep them on the sidewalks, and public safety aides are supervising crossings at street corners, according to police.
“We don’t have any jaywalking and I don’t believe it’s been an issue,” Liening said.
Each week, the crowd changes and new arrivals pick where they want to hang out.
Lately the hot spot seems to be just north of East Las Olas Boulevard, opposite the Rock Bar, Liening said.
For drivers who want to avoid getting tickets, the city does not have a designated passenger drop off area on the barrier island. But if motorists pick up or drop off friends or fares on side streets, police will not issue citations, Liening said.
Drivers who turn north off East Las Olas Boulevard to get their friends to that section of the beach will want to avoid stopping because it’s where the police department’s command center is set up, and nearby Poinsettia Street and Cortez Street are blocked to traffic.
Liening said motorists will instead want to stop along Almond Avenue, which is off East Las Olas Boulevard and west of A1A. Castillo Street and other side streets to the north, are also good for dropping riders off, she said.
“If you don’t have official business or need to be [at the beach], don’t be there,” Liening said.
So with 14 days marked off the spring break calendar and about 23 more to go, if the sun keeps shining on Fort Lauderdale, the kids are likely to keep on coming.
“We’ve been blessed with beautiful weather,” Liening said. “We have a crowd out there. But it hasn’t been anything that we can’t handle.”