South Dixie Highway Improvement Project FAQ

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The South Dixie Highway Improvement Project will increase safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike. The project will involve removing a travel lane and widening the sidewalks. This will slow traffic and give cyclists the option of riding off the street and out of vehicular traffic. The new design will help reduce angle crashes along South Dixie, which accounted for 36% of the accidents from 2009 through 2013. The project limits are from Okeechobee Boulevard on the north to Ablemarle Road on the South, a total of 1.5 miles.

The current construction schedule estimates a two-year duration starting in Spring of 2021. The road design and construction are funded by the Florida Department of Transportation. The landscape and streetscape design and construction are funded by the City of West Palm Beach.

For further information and more answers to your questions, visit our Road Diet and Resources Page.

  • What is a road diet?

    The US Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) defines a “road diet” as converting a typical four-lane undivided roadway to a three-lane section – consisting of two through lanes (one in each direction) and a center dual turn lane.
  • Why is South Dixie Highway a good candidate for a road diet?

    The South Dixie Highway corridor experiences relatively severe crash instances because of the interactions between high speed through traffic, turning vehicles and other road users – such as bicyclists and pedestrians.
    In addition, eliminating a travel lane will allow the sidewalk to be widened so that bicyclists have the option to ride off the street and out of vehicular traffic. The additional space will also allow for new planting areas which will further increase pedestrian comfort and make the corridor more aesthetically pleasing.
  • What are the limits of the project?

    The project limits are from Okeechobee Boulevard on the north to Ablemarle Road on the south, a total distance of approximately 1.5 miles.

    project location map showing the area impacted from Okeechobee Blvd to Ablemarle Road

  • Will there still be on street parking after the project is complete?

    Yes. Currently the project limits have a total of 53 existing parallel parking spaces. As the project is currently designed that number will be increased to 136 spaces – a total increase of 83 spaces.
  • Who is paying for the Dixie Highway project?

    The road design and construction are funded by FDOT. The landscape and streetscape design and construction are funded by the City.
  • Will the sidewalks be improved?

    Yes. In most areas of the Dixie Highway corridor the sidewalk is going to be expanded and improved to give pedestrians a safer and more pleasant experience. This will include adding planting strips to separate pedestrians from the road as well as adding new planting areas where practicable throughout the corridor. This will enhance the store front aesthetics of businesses on the corridor, resulting in an expected increase in business.

    An illustration with three road sections showing existing conditions, cross section with parallel parking, and a concept without parallel parking

  • Will the project promote economic growth and improved quality of life in the corridor?

    By creating a safer, more user friendly and aesthetically attractive corridor, the project should attract positive attention to the businesses and adjacent neighborhoods. Data from other similar projects support the proposition that business increases and neighborhoods are safer when projects like this are undertaken.
  • I’ve heard road diets are bad for business, is this true?

    No. Data suggest that road diets can increase and enhance business by slowing down vehicular traffic so drivers can notice the shops, eateries, and other businesses. In addition, road diet projects add new landscape and improve sidewalks for pedestrians and bicyclists – who, based on FHWA reports, tend to spend more money at local businesses than drivers.
  • Most of my customers don’t walk to my business they drive; will this benefit them as well?

    Yes. Road diets increase safety by slowing traffic speed and improving driver sightlines. The center turn lane allows drivers an easier and safer means of making left turns – improving customer’s ability to turn into and exit parking areas. In addition, the Dixie Highway project will substantially increase on-street parking. In addition, with improved sidewalks, bike lanes and landscaping it is plausible that businesses will see an increase in pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
  • Since my business sign faces out onto Dixie Highway will this project block visibility from the road?

    No. While this project will be adding more landscaping to the sidewalk the design team will work closely with the merchants to make sure that signs are still visible to passing traffic.
    Another benefit of the Dixie Highway road diet is that, by slowing traffic, business signs are more visible to passing cars since drivers have more opportunity to read them.
  • How will the new landscape be maintained and who is responsible for the maintenance?

    The City will be responsible for maintenance of the landscape and irrigation. There will be the opportunity for adjacent property owners to assume maintenance responsibility if they desire or wish to improve continuity with their landscape features.
  • How long will the project take?

    The roadway and landscape designs are approximately 30% complete as of January 2020.
    The current construction schedule estimates a two-year duration starting in the Spring of 2021 and ending in the Spring 2023.
  • My business relies on on-street parking, will customers be able to park during construction?

    The City will work with business owners and the contractor to avoid and minimize impacts to access and parking. Limiting construction to one consecutive block at a time will minimize business impacts. The contractor will be required to install channelizing devices, such as traffic cones or barrels, to maintain parking in areas outside of the active work zone.
  • How will the phasing work?

    The current phasing plan is to construct the west side first (Phase I), then the middle portion (Phase II), next the east side (Phase III), and the final friction course (surface of road) and striping will complete the project (Phase IV).
  • Will Dixie Highway be closed for the duration of the work?

    No. Work will be phased to avoid and minimize impacts.
  • How long will each section be closed?

    The length of the closures has not yet been determined. The intention is to limit construction to one consecutive block at a time to minimize business impacts.
  • Will there be a system to alert neighbors and businesses about and construction activities and road closures?

    Yes. FDOT Construction will have a Public Information Liaison who will provide updates to the neighborhoods and businesses. In addition, Portable Changeable Message Signs (PCMS) signs will be placed two weeks prior to construction to alert all users of the corridor of upcoming construction.
  • How will traffic be routed around the construction?

    One through lane in each direction will be maintained on Dixie Highway during construction.
  • What are the primary benefits of a road diet on a corridor like Dixie Highway?

     

    The benefits of a road diet on Dixie Highway include:

    • Safety, including a significant reduction (-37%) in crashes due to the dedicated turning lane and reduced speeds
    • Aesthetics, the streetscape will be improved through additional landscaping and more usable and attractive sidewalk space
    • Economic growth of businesses with a safer more attractive corridor - more usable sidewalk space and slower vehicle traffic
    • Parking, the project will create substantially more on-street parking spaces
    • Mobility, the project will make Dixie Highway a more “complete street” by facilitating better access by all users of the corridor, including cars, pedestrians and cyclists
    • Property Values, integrating better the Dixie Highway corridor into the business and residential fabric will enhance property values and quality of life in the area.