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2012 Award of Merit - Palmetto Park Road Improvements and Downtown Boca Raton Pedestrian Promenade
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Project Category:  Open Space 

Project Name: Palmetto Park Road Improvements and Downtown Boca Raton Pedestrian Promenade 

Project Location:  Boca Raton, Florida 

Date of Completion: October 2011 

Landscape Architect:  Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. –

Jonathan D. Haigh, RLA, ASLA (

Owner:  City of Boca Raton 

Landscape Contractor:  Arazoza Brothers/ Burkhardt Construction 

This project entailed the reconstruction of four streets and the design of beautifully landscaped and intricate concrete paver pedestrian connections between the Plaza Real South and Mizner Park mixed-use areas. Prior to the improvements, the lack of adequate sidewalks and high-speed traffic on Palmetto Park Road formed a barrier that prevented safe pedestrian connections between these two downtown destinations.

The design team looked to the "Complete Street” philosophy to provide safe, attractive, and comfortable access for all users. The design of all four streets put a special emphasis on providing an inviting pedestrian experience and retaining on-street parking and providing wider sidewalks for pedestrians and outdoor dining.

Five main intersections within the project limits were demolished, raised to create flush connections at the crosswalks, and resurfaced with decorative brick pavers.  Its design encourages drivers to slow down without overly intrusive signage, excessive signalization, or speed humps.  Sidewalks were demolished from right-of-way to right-of-way and replaced with decorative pavers and planter spaces between on-street parking spaces. Throughout all of this, the design team worked closely with the contractors to keep businesses open and quickly getting vehicular and pedestrian traffic patterns back to normal. Some civic leaders and business owners compared the construction effort to open heart surgery

First Avenue, the main North-South portion of the Promenade, is a true example of a Complete Street.  This street features a flexible roadway space that can be configured as paved open space for community events. Retractable bollards and lighted traffic bollards can re-route traffic around the area and transform intersections and large stretches of roadway into safe, festive town squares for street vendors, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Removable, lighted bollards enable safe use of the roadways by pedestrians during special events where simply repositioning them reroutes traffic and allows entire blocks to be closed off to vehicles.

The project also included the design of streetscape features for Boca Raton Road, a small street with retail and offices.  Sidewalks were widened with a decorative paver treatment and large twin-trunk Montgomery Palms were specified in on-street parking dividers to tie into the promenade. 

The design team worked closely with the City of Boca Landscape Architect and irrigation specialists to develop a plant palette that features large palm species, colorful shrubs and groundcovers, and a low-volume and satellite-controlled irrigation system.  Trees and palms were selectively placed to provide shade and keep views to business signage open. These trees and palms are also uplit for nighttime security and ambiance.  The results show a dramatic change to a portion of downtown in need of a fresh look.

The finished product is a comfortable, pedestrian-scale environment connecting all parts of Downtown. The City credits the firm’s creativity and personal dedication as the primary contributor to this project’s success. Residents benefit from reduced congestion, a non-stop pedestrian route between the Plaza Real South and Mizner Park retail/business districts, and safer, versatile roadway corridors that now serve the dual purpose of local arterial and pedestrian plaza.

The improvements have signaled to the community that their downtown is again a "happening” place. In addition to being a catalyst for redevelopment and job creation, the final result is a versatile, festive community space that can alternately be used for civic events and still serve as a primary arterial through the City.


Project Manager : James Sumislaski, P.E. - Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.

Landscape Analyst : Kimberlee Misek, ASLA  - Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.

Roadway Civil Analyst : Carlie Buchan, E.I. - Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc.

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