The results are in – and recommendations are on the way – for Clematis Streetscape, a project that seeks to make design improvements to Clematis Street that will improve the experience and overall quality of life for Clematis merchants, residents and visitors. After several meetings with Clematis Street merchants, other area merchants, stakeholders, residents and visitors, where all were welcomed to provide input on the Clematis Streetscape project, the City is now waiting for final recommendations from the award-winning design team, Dover, Kohl & Partners. Initial polling from the meetings gauged public interest and preferences – even right down to which type of pavers users prefer. 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 pleased with the level of engagement we have received from the community thus far,” said Mayor Jeri Muoio. “The merchant and stakeholder meetings have provided incredible insight into what works best for some of our most valued Clematis Street users. That said, the public meetings have also provided equally beneficial background to public preferences. With this collaborative approach, and informative data, I know the result will be a street we can all enjoy – and for years to come.”
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 the national expertise of the design and engineering team at Kimley-Horn, Dover, Kohl & Partners, a visionary urban planning company based in Coral Gables, 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, the firm is working on 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 live polling at the “Clematis Streetscape: Interactive Workshop” on Monday night, attendees were primarily visitors to the street (65 percent), who mostly visit for dining (43 percent), tend to drive when coming downtown (57 percent), and go straight to City garages for parking (57 percent), as opposed to trying to park on Clematis Street (26 percent). Overwhelmingly, this group preferred the design team’s concentrated approach to improvements for the 2018 project (70 percent), preferring that each block receive improvements in phases. In addition, this group favored asymmetrical over symmetrical design (51 to 33 percent), where both sides of the street might differ, but be cohesive.
The first phase of the Clematis Streetscape project is expected to break ground in June, with construction ending in October. The City of West Palm Beach has engaged community stakeholders, including Clematis Street merchants, the Downtown Development Authority, the Downtown Neighborhood Association, the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, and others, to capitalize on Clematis Street’s strengths and solicit feedback on the overall design. The public was also invited to provide input either during the West Palm Beach GreenMarket on January 20, during a planning meeting at City Hall on January 22, or by email at cle[email protected].
After much discussion and drafts, the City Commission is expected to make a final decision on the designs on Monday, February 26 during the Face of the City public meeting. Construction is slated to begin in June on the first phase and other phases will be slated depending on the cohesive final design.
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.