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Clematis Streetscape Improvements – Phases 1, 2, and 3

Clematis Street­—the iconic main street in West Palm Beach, Florida—unveiled the third and final phase of its innovative streetscape transformation in early October 2020. In collaboration with Dover-Kohl, Kimley-Horn led the City’s three-phased streetscape transformation project, which included the design of curbless streets with permeable paver parking spaces and the City’s first suspended pavement system to provide significant uncompacted root zone space for the surrounding live oaks to thrive.

Project Background

The City of West Palm Beach aimed to revitalize the downtown area by improving the look and functionality of the City’s main commercial street. In 2018 and 2019, during the first and second phases of the project, our team set and met ambitious accelerated schedules to produce design plans quickly and complete construction during the summer and autumn off-seasons.

During the third phase, when COVID-19 led to temporary business closures, the City accelerated the construction start date to avoid unnecessary interruptions or inconveniences to the street’s business owners.

Planning and Design Phase

Kimley-Horn collaborated closely with Dover-Kohl in the planning phase, conducting input meetings with Clematis Street merchants, stakeholders, residents, and visitors. The City Commission approved public-input recommendations that were then integrated into the project plan.

Our landscape architects designed an innovative paver-covered curbless street with narrowed travel lanes, widened premium paver sidewalks, permeable paver parking spaces, custom-designed seating areas, and large live oaks to provide significant shade for pedestrians.

Innovative Water Utilities and Landscape Architecture Solutions

Clematis Street features the City’s first suspended pavement system, designed to structurally support the pavement above uncompacted soils to allow the roots of the large live oak trees to thrive and prevent sidewalk and road damage over time. The suspended pavement system spans below the surface of the permeable paver parking spaces to provide a subsurface bioswale that draws surface drainage from the street directly into the expansive rootzone of the street trees. The permeable paver bioswales help the street take in water.

To accommodate the large trees planned for this street and to harden the long term investment in the living green infrastructure along the streetscape, our water utility engineers provided utility engineering services to relocate water mains and gravity sewer lines and maximize lateral clearances to trees.

Community Impact

The Clematis Street improvements increased the pedestrian space within the right-of-way, provided new, shaded outdoor public spaces for residents and visitors of West Palm Beach to enjoy; and minimized the street’s emphasis on vehicles by reducing speeds and relocating parking. During construction of the third phase, the first two completed phases provided in-street dining and gathering spaces, with the curbless street serving its intended purpose of acting as a people-first public space.

Project Recognition