Miami International Boat Show unveils transportation plan for new home

As the National Marine Manufacturers Association prepares for the 2016 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show, and its much talked about move to Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin, planning for transportation, parking and traffic are top priorities.

NMMA, in conjunction with the City of Miami, has constructed comprehensive parking and transportation plans spanning water taxis, shuttles, public transportation access, VIP and valet parking, and abundant public parking options, all strategically placed throughout Miami and on Virginia Key, to accommodate boat show attendees and exhibitors.

One of the more exciting and efficient elements of the boat show’s transportation efforts is the addition of water taxis. With its easily accessible on-water location at Miami Marine Stadium Park, the boat show’s water taxi plan makes it possible for the boat show to transport up to 25,000 people to the event each day by water.

What’s more, as part of the boat show’s transportation efforts, the City of Miami recently hired a third party consultant, Kimley Horn, to conduct a thorough traffic study to gain a better understanding of the most efficient and effective means of getting vehicles on and off Rickenbacker Causeway while keeping traffic flowing at all major intersections leading to the Causeway. Re-built in 1985 using taxpayer dollars, the Rickenbacker Causeway provides public access to Virginia Key and Key Biscayne for Miami Dade County residents to enjoy. The Causeway also acts as the primary thoroughfare that connects Miami with both Virginia Key and Key Biscayne, making it a critical traffic point and access area.

Given the importance of the Rickenbacker Causeway to the entire Miami Dade County community, NMMA and the City of Miami used the traffic study as a foundation for developing a traffic plan that minimizes the boat show’s impact and ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience throughout the five-day event.

The traffic plan, coupled with the parking and transportation plans, creates one of the most efficient transportation efforts in the boat show’s 74-year history. As a result, the boat show is poised to deliver minimal interruption and little to no congestion, especially as it relates to getting on and off the Rickenbacker Causeway.

On March 30th, the traffic, transportation and parking plans, developed by NMMA in conjunction with the City of Miami Transportation Department, Miami Police Department, Metro Miami Dade County Police Department and the City of Miami Deputy City Manager, were presented by NMMA, alongside the City of Miami, to the Village of Key Biscayne. Attendees at the meeting included the Mayor of Key Biscayne, Mayra Peña Lindsay, the Village of Key Biscayne City Manager, John Gilbert, City of Miami Police Department, Special Event Division, Lt. Joel Gonzalez, and the Village of Key Biscayne Chief of Police, Chuck Press.

Highlights of the plans include:

  • 10,000 parking spaces in downtown Miami, with shuttle and water taxi service directly to the show
  • Water taxi service to the show at locations in convenient points throughout Miami
  • An additional 3,800 pre-paid parking spaces on Virginia Key, adjacent to the show, to accommodate exhibitors and attendees (nearly double the public parking spaces available to the boat show when it was in Miami Beach)
  • VIP parking on Virginia Key with private car or shuttle service to the entrance and VIP valet parking within the show site
  • Easy access to public transportation for getting to-and-from the show
  • Freebee electric car service on call for shuttling to and from water taxi ports and hotels in Coconut Grove, Brickell and downtown areas
  • Guaranteed parking space inclusive of water taxi or shuttle for exhibitors and attendees when purchased in advance online

“Transportation is a critical component of building a successful new show as it ensures a smooth process for everything from parking and traffic to crowd flow,” stated Thom Dammrich, president of the NMMA. “We have hired the best team in the business to implement the plan, with extensive knowledge of Miami Dade traffic and residents’ transportation habits, who have thought of every conceivable transportation issue and opportunity. We are especially excited about how easy it will be to take a water taxi to and from the boat show from numerous locations all around Miami—what better way for boaters to get to a boat show. As a result, we have created one of the most efficient transportation plans ever undertaken by NMMA that will create a quick and seamless process for getting to and from the show’s new home on Virginia Key.”

“The parking, traffic and transportation plan created by the City of Miami and the NMMA, with their more than 74 years planning the Miami International Boat Show in our city, is one of the most traffic congestion-reducing plans we have seen,” stated Alice Bravo, Deputy City Manager for the City of Miami. “From extensive parking options to water taxis and shuttles, getting to the boat show will be easier and more hassle-free than it has been in the event’s history. What’s more, the traffic plan minimizes traffic throughout the city, especially the Rickenbacker Causeway, which in turn will make it an enjoyable event for boat show goers as well as Miami residents.”

NMMA will continue working with the City of Miami to evaluate and enhance transportation elements in the coming months. Information on traffic, parking and transportation will be shared online at as it is available.

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