Quadrille Boulevard is scheduled for Phase II of a FDOT Transportation Enhancement Grant. The project extends from Datura Street to Okeechobee Boulevard along Quadrille Boulevard.
This a long-overdue enhancement to a corridor that is becoming more vital to the connectivity of downtown. Quadrille Blvd is adjacent to the FEC tracks and the Quadrille Business District, the area of downtown zoned for the most intense uses in all of the downtown master plan. The Downtown Master Plan (DMP) calls for a frontage street to be built on the eastern elevation of the buildings in this district – Uptown Art, Sewell Hardware, Sasser’s Glass will all benefit from this new street frontage that will allow better access by shortening the block length. The DMP also envisions an enhanced linear park along the length of Quadrille from Okeechobee Boulevard to north of Clematis.
From the DMP:
Create a comprehensive strategy for parks and open space to make linear connections to neighborhoods.
While the Downtown has a linear system of beautiful parks along the Intercoastal Waterway, there are very few additional open spaces in other parts of the District. There is also a significant lack of green streetscapes because most streets are too narrow to accommodate sufficient landscaping. This overall absence of green impacts the Downtown’s quality of life and has somewhat hindered its ability to attract new population and appeal to the current residents. Green and green spaces are critical components of successful urban places because they enhance a pedestrian’s outdoor experience and promote pedestrian mobility with additional shade, protection from the elements,
John Nolen, the original town planner for West Palm Beach, recognized this important role of open space when he designed a central spine of vegetation along Clematis Street, anchored on either end by major green spaces.
Although his vision was only partially realized, the overall intent can still be achieved through a variety of larger green strategies:
1. Create a linear green park parallel to the FEC rail line…
Our local officials have rightfully identified this corridor for improvements, as has our community of residents using SeeClickFix. Nonexistent sidewalks, lack of shade trees, lack of shelter for transit users, insufficent bike infrastructure, and nonsensical footpath alignments (especially along Fern and Quadrille) are some shortcomings that need to be fixed. This grant should help overcome many of these issues.
Although the City was awarded this grant money in 2008 by FDOT, only now, five years on, is work starting. It’s great to receive other people’s money to fund a worthwhile capital improvement project such as this, rather than having to fund with locally generated tax revenue. But it is important to realize the limitations of relying on a governmental transfer payment to fund such projects. If we always rely on the whims of FDOT or other agencies to fund local capital investments, we don’t control our own destiny, FDOT does.
Something to consider as we move downtown forward.
Source: DAC report