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Progress in Pompano: Atlantic Blvd and Dixie Hwy Streetscape Improvements

Project Update 8/15/22

On July 12, 2022, the City Commission approved the second reading of the ordinance awarding Whiting|Turner the Guaranteed Maximum Price Contract for the Dixie and Atlantic Streetscape Improvement Project. This approval allows the City, Design Team, and Contractor to move forward with the next step, which is to finalize the drawings based on permit comments from various governmental entities.

The major design elements that have been depicted in all the conceptual renderings and drawings presented to the public, including the project presentation at the June 28th City Commission, is what will be built. For example, there will continue to be two through lanes going west bound along Atlantic Blvd. from Cypress Rd. to NW 6th Ave. In addition, as illustrated in the conceptual renderings and various diagrams that the City has produced, there is a third lane going westbound that is a dedicated left turn lane that begins in the vicinity of NE / SW 1st Ave, and a fourth lane that becomes a right turn lane for Dixie Hwy. These through lanes, and turn lanes, are illustrated on the diagram below. The specific configuration of the turn lanes will be further refined during the permit process.

While the drawings are nearly complete, there are several minor comments from the City Building Department and Broward County that the Design Team will respond to during the final revisions to the drawings. For example, some of the permit comments deal with:

  • Final tree species selection
  • Final shrub species selection
  • Size of tree root balls specified
  • Final configuration of turn lanes
  • Final location of mid-block crossing at NE / SW 1st Avenue
  • Final coordination of utilities

Once the permit comments have been addressed, then the Design Team will be able to issue drawings for construction. This process is consistent with all the other GO BOND projects.

The Design Team and City are working diligently to respond to the agency permit comments for construction to begin this Fall. Updates on the schedule will be provided as the project progresses.

Drone video Atlantic Boulevard from the Beach west to Dixie Highway. Narrated by Joaquin Vargas, Traf Tech Engineering

Progress in Pompano: Atlantic Blvd/Dixie Hwy FACTS

The City Commissioners listened to make sure constituent feedback was heard and understood, and their concerns were addressed. A total of 8 lanes were coned off during the testing period however almost all of the lanes have been restored in the optimized plan.

This means that drivers will not experience anything like the height of the cone implementation test phase with multiple lanes out of service at once!

Project FACTS:

  • This Complete Street design reduces speeding and creates a safer environment for motorists and pedestrians with wider medians and landscape buffers between cars, pedestrians and cyclists
  • The Revised Plan will maintain two through lanes westbound on Atlantic Blvd from A1A to NW 6th Ave, only eliminating one through-lane on westbound Atlantic Blvd for eight blocks, from Cypress Rd to NW 6th Ave
  • The timing of traffic lights was optimized and 1st Ave was reduced to right turns only
  • The left turn lanes on westbound Atlantic Blvd to go south on Cypress Rd, and to go south on Dixie Hwy, will be lengthened to avoid blocking through traffic

    Progress in Pompano! Atlantic Boulevard/Dixie Highway Streetscape Project

    The City of Pompano Beach has embarked upon a transformative new road project that will realign Atlantic Boulevard, creating a signature entrance to the heart of our City. Inspired by the global trend of creating safer, more walkable cities that easily connect major districts, Pompano Beach’s plan will become the foundation for our new Downtown.

    These design changes will slow down speeding traffic and incentivize walking, while providing better, safer routes for everyone, including pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers, and those taking public transportation.

    A city’s downtown is the heart and soul of the community. It is the engine that fuels prosperity, provides opportunity, and creates a sense of place and unity for its residents. For many years, Pompano Beach’s downtown was neither a point of pride nor an economic incubator. But now, thanks to years of strategic planning, the vision for our City’s future is being realized.

    Our Downtown commercial areas include The Old Town District, also known as Old Pompano; The Civic Commons District which includes City Hall, the Cultural Center and Library; and the Innovation District, with MLK Boulevard as the “main street” between Dixie Highway and I-95.

    As our cultural activities continue to grow, new restaurants and businesses open, and new residential developments are built, our Downtown will become a vibrant hub of social, entertainment, and business activity.

    To ensure the area is optimized for smart, safe growth, the roadway improvement project will feature a multi-use pedestrian and bike promenade with seating areas along both sides of Atlantic Boulevard and the center medians will be widened, landscaped, and extended providing a safer pedestrian crossing experience. A multi-use path along the West side of Dixie Highway separated from the road by landscaping is also planned.

    The Progress in Pompano! Project to improve the Atlantic Boulevard and Dixie Highway corridor was made possible after a successful collaboration with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to acquire Dixie Highway in its entirety through Pompano Beach. This acquisition was essential in order for the City to have the flexibility to add major beautification elements to the project for Pompano Beach’s new signature entrance. FDOT transferred almost $5 million in funding to the City as this money had already been designated for the resurfacing of Dixie Highway. The City will also receive approximately $25 million from the Broward County Penny for Transportation Surtax fund which is designated for transportation.

    “This reimaging of Atlantic Boulevard and Dixie Highway is similar to our beachfront restoration,” said Mayor Rex Hardin. “Initially the beach redevelopment project faced some resistance, but thanks to the cooperation of our residents and business owners through the construction phase, the beachfront is now a source of tremendous pride for the entire community.”

    All of the incremental development, redevelopment, public space improvements and new business openings, are evidence of the vibrant future and value of our City’s New Downtown, where everyone will experience a cool vibe and feel a warm welcome!

    The Value of “Building a Downtown” Ensuring Pompano Beach’s Future

    A city’s downtown is the heart and soul of the community. It is the engine that fuels prosperity, provides opportunity, and creates a sense of place and unity for its residents. For many years, our City’s downtown was neither a point of pride nor an economic incubator. But now, thanks to years of strategic planning, the vision for our City’s future is being realized. Every month, new signs of progress emerge. Is the process easy? No! But it is critical for our future success.

    In this article, we are doing a deeper dive into the value of a downtown and share some of the recent developments.

    But first, where is our downtown?

    Downtown Pompano Beach includes three distinct districts: The Old Town District, also known as Old Pompano; The Civic Commons District which includes City Hall, the Cultural Center and Library; and the Innovation District, with MLK Boulevard as the “main street” between Dixie Highway and I-95. The color-coded map below illustrates each of the three commercial districts within the 400-acre Downtown.

    Downtown Pompano

    Why do we have to develop our downtown?

    The City of Pompano Beach wants to provide the best future for its residents and to do so, we must remain competitive. The International Downtown Association (IDA) conducted an analysis of 33 downtowns across the country. The subtitle of the report states: A STRONG DOWNTOWN IS CRITICAL FOR A SUCCESSFUL CITY AND REGION. The findings reveal that each downtown functions as a leading economic driver in each city and region. While small in physical size, downtowns are immensely valuable, diverse, efficient, inclusive, and resilient on multiple levels.

    How does a strong downtown help a city?

    Economy: On average, downtowns represent approximately 3% of all citywide land (Pompano Beach’s New Downtown is anticipated to be approximately 2.5% of citywide land) but they deliver an average of 17% of the citywide property tax revenue.

    Inclusion: The downtowns exhibited marked demographic diversity with residents from a wide range of backgrounds. On average, downtown residents are 46% non-white, 18% foreign born, and 48% hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.

    Vibrancy: Downtowns support a vibrant variety of retail, infrastructure, and institutional uses which offer mutually reinforcing benefits to the region. Downtowns are also regional shopping, nightlife, and entertainment centers.

    Identity: Downtowns have intrinsic cultural significance, defining the region’s brand by offering historical assets, culture, recreation, entertainment, and participation in civic activities. A blend of old and new, downtowns provide a high quality of life that attracts employers, investment, visitors, and residents.

    Resilience: The mixed-use nature of a downtown allows for residential uses alongside commercial, connected by a variety of mobility options, allowing for a stronger and more adaptable community.

    What have we have accomplished so far?

    The Downtown’s Innovation District will include the highest density of new mixed-use development. It will be developed over the next decade and beyond, however, the Civic Commons and the Old Town Districts are well underway with exciting projects in the works and coming soon. These areas of the New Downtown are already adding value to quality of life and place, increasing job opportunities, and supporting the City’s tax base.

    If you have attended performances at the Cultural Center, enjoyed the Green Market Pompano Beach on the Arts Plaza, participated in workshops and events at Bailey Contemporary Arts Center (BaCA) and been one of the thousands who explored Old Town Untapped, then YOU have been a key part of the rebirth of our City’s Downtown!

    Old Town is Pompano Beach Downtown’s arts and entertainment district. It is the historic area that was once the City’s epicenter of commerce – the original downtown! It is being revitalized through numerous City and CRA projects and programs and is quickly becoming a vibrant district for dining and entertainment in Pompano Beach.

    Façade improvements have beautified many of the buildings and new tenants are choosing this area including Odd Breed Wild Ales, Papamigos, South Bar & Kitchen, Soulful Steep and more.

    The City and CRA’s investment in BaCA, the installation of the central urban plaza with a “Fire Fountain,” and the current development of European-style piazza surrounded by restaurants and retail know as The Backyard, has spurred tremendous interest in this area, leading to investments from business leaders who believe in the future of Pompano Beach. The construction of Old Town Square, the 281-unit mixed-use residential building that broke ground in 2021 is an example of the confidence investors now have in our City.

    All of the incremental development, redevelopment, public space improvements and new business openings, are evidence of the vibrant future and value of our City’s New Downtown, where you’ll experience a cool vibe and feel a warm welcome!

    Safety Information

    The section of Atlantic Boulevard between NW 6th Avenue and NE 7th Avenue had approximately 122 accidents in 2021. Using FDOT accident and analysis procedures, this section of Atlantic Boulevard is considered a high crash location compared to other similar roadways in South Florida. Atlantic Boulevard has twice the number of accidents it should have. Therefore, there is currently a safety problem on this roadway. The proposed improvements of Atlantic Boulevard will improve safety along this high-accident roadway.

    - Joaquin E. Vargas, P.E.