On March 11, West Palm Beach City Commissioners approved the final design plans for Phase III of the Clematis Streetscape project bringing improvements to the 400 and 500 blocks of Clematis Street. The third and final phase was scheduled to break ground in early to mid-May.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, project leaders have requested an earlier start date to reduce the impact on merchants, residents, and visitors, as some businesses’ operations will be affected during construction.
Construction work is underway on the 500 block of the famed downtown corridor.
“As with any improvement project we undertake, we aim to create the least amount of disruption for residents, businesses, and visitors,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James. “Given the current business climate due to COVID-19, moving up the start date just makes sense. We hope this efficiency will ultimately lead to better returns for our business community after COVID-19.”
Phase III design plans include upgrades to the 400 and 500 blocks of Clematis Street. These improvements include more shade trees, wider sidewalks, and a curbless street design. Once the 500 block has been completed, the City will then turn its attention to the 400 block where City Hall is located. With pedestrians and cyclists in mind, Phase III also includes safety improvements to the Quadrille Boulevard and Clematis Street intersection and minor improvements to the 600 block. Project managers expect this final stage of the project to be complete before the holidays.
“We know this is an extremely difficult time for our valued merchants,” said Allison Justice, interim-executive director of the City of West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency. “That is why we want to do everything we can to lessen the impact of an improvement project once it’s back to ‘business as usual.’ By moving up the timeline, we will be able to give merchants on the 400 and 500 blocks something that has already improved customer foot traffic and patronage along the other blocks of Clematis.”
A rendering of the reimagined 500 block of Clematis St:
The Clematis Streetscape project was initiated in January 2018 with a series of public meetings to introduce the concept. The City moved forward with a phased approach and broke ground on Phase I on the 300 block later that same year. Phase II, which focused on the 100 and 200 blocks, was initiated and completed in 2019.
To minimize business disruption during the construction phase, the City will integrate key findings from the earlier phases. These include ensuring wayfinding/construction signage, continuing the DDA’s Dig Zone program, validating parking for customers of businesses on the affected blocks, and providing regular progress updates and communication.
The Clematis Streetscape project is one of several between the City of West Palm Beach and the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency. For more information on the Clematis Streetscape project, please visit Clematis streetscape or call (561) 822-1400 (TTY: 800-955-8771).
The Clematis Streetscape project on the 500 block is underway