At the Face of the City West Palm Beach Commission meeting on Monday, February 26, the City Commission unanimously approved proposed designs to make improvements to the City’s oldest – and one of its most beloved – streets, Clematis Street. Project managers, Erik Ferguson, P.E., Transportation Engineer for the City of West Palm Beach, and Allison Justice, Senior Project Manager for the CRA, presented notable improvements to the 300 block of Clematis Street, which were drafted and provided by renowned designer Victor Dover, of Dover, Kohl & Partners in Coral Gables. The design was a result of community collaboration, as the project managers had extensive public meetings with Clematis Street merchants, other area merchants, stakeholders, residents, and visitors, who provided input and feedback on suggested improvements. Improvements include expanded sidewalk space, addition of shade trees and more narrow traffic lanes, among others.
In keeping with Mayor Jeri Muoio’s vision of a city built and designed with quality of life at the forefront, project goals include an increase in safety, walkability, economic development, public health, sustainability and more. In addition, one of the City’s primary goals of this project is to shorten the construction schedule and minimize disruption to valued merchants.
“I am incredibly proud of the entire Clematis Streetscape design team,” said Mayor Jeri Muoio. “The designs they presented are thoughtful, putting people first, but also maintaining a balance of multiple interests. Through collaboration with area merchants, residents, community members who work or play downtown, and other stakeholders, they have created a beautiful space. I know with certainty these improvements will create greater quality of life for all – and will be the launching pad for continued enhancement to other City streets.”
With a rich history dating back to 1894, Clematis Street is one of the most iconic streets in the City of West Palm Beach. Serving as the sole business district when the City was first founded, the street currently serves as a place to both work and play, affectionately referred to as the “living room” of the buzzing downtown community. Along with visionary urban planning company Dover, Kohl & Partners, national design and engineering firm Kimley-Horn, has been retained to design a polished and professional next phase of Clematis Street’s evolution. After a series of meetings with merchants, stakeholders, and the public, Dover, Kohl drafted final recommendations for the future of Clematis Street. Meeting participants were able to provide input on what type of trees they enjoy, sidewalk tiling they prefer, car barriers they find most aesthetic, and more.
According to project managers, Clematis Streetscape aims to make the Street one of the “world’s greatest streets,” by making major and minor adjustments to put people first. The approved design will increase “people” space by nearly 18 percent. People space reduces the priority given to cars, reallocating the shared public space for shade trees and expanded sidewalks. Sidewalks will be expanded from 9 feet – 12 feet and the street will now be curb less. Parking will still take priority, however, and 12 spaces will be available on the 300 block. In addition, the project managers are proposing updated materials for paving and barrier structures, with heat absorption, maintenance, longevity and aesthetics in mind.
Improvements to the 300 block are scheduled to break ground in June. Construction is expected to be complete by October, and additional blocks will be scheduled for improvements in the future.
For more information on the Clematis Streetscape project, please visit wpb.org/clematisstreetscape, call 561-822-2222, or plan to attend the public meetings. To stay up-to-date on all City news, please follow the City on Twitter @westpalmbch or on Facebook @CityofWPB