Miami Beach closed to cars, motorbikes — but people are still lining up to get there

1 Fort Lauderdale

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A line of cars snakes on the causeway from the Arsht Center to Jungle Island as Miami Beach residents try to go home. But they are being turned away because cleanup crews are currently removing downed trees, snapped power lines and other debris that littered most city streets in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

Streets are expected to reopen by noon Tuesday.

“We haven’t bathed in two days,” said Carlos Lorenzi, as he sat in line with his wife Monica.

They weren’t aware of the closure. When they’re were told so many streets were impassable, they shrugged, nodded and asked when the city would reopen access.

Miki Zappi, 75, argued for several minutes with two Miami Beach police officers to be let past the checkpoint.

“City Hall told me I could come through with a bicycle,” he said, astride a Vespa.

“That’s not a bicycle,” one pointed out.

Zappi, who rode out the hurricane in his home on Hibiscus Island, left the house at 9:30 am to get an espresso and croissant sandwich at the Miami International Airport.

When he returned, however, he realized the line of stopped cars along the causeway wasn’t just preventing non-residents from getting back on the island — they wouldn’t let him in either, except on foot.

He had to abandon his blue Vespa with police officers and walk the half-mile back home in the heat.

“I’m a handicap,” he said, pointing to the right knee where he’d had knee replacement surgery done. “When I go through security, I light up like a Christmas tree.”

As he walked down an empty Causeway, the late morning heat started getting to him. He was carried his shirt in his hand for the last stretch of his walk home.

Cars also backed up on the Julia Tuttle Causeway, according to the city.


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