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Cathedral City - Palm Canyon Drive Streetscape

Client: City of Cathedral City

To stimulate investment in the heart of the city, the redesign of Palm Canyon Drive completely transformed the visual character of the central segment of the City’s most visible thoroughfare. The design features a multi-way boulevard segment to catalyze the development of a new City Center (based on the city center plan previously prepared by FTS). The reorganized lane & intersection configuration also relieved a traffic bottleneck and met regional and Caltrans standards for enhanced operations, and provided a plan for incremental regional commitment to transit operations.

The completed Palm Canyon Drive “grand boulevard” frontage for the new Town Center.
 

Before

Palm Canyon Drive prior to redevelopment – a wide, disinvested and unmemorable commercial “strip.”

  • The original 2-lane highway had been previously widened to 5 lanes; Riverside County had planned a further widening including property demolitions.
  • The existing street was a pedestrian-unfriendly “strip” with narrow sidewalks and no curbside parking.
  • The street reflected poorly on the City as seen by visitors traveling between Palm Springs and other Coachella Valley resorts.

Assignment

  • Create a distinctive and grand, yet pedestrian-friendly streetscape to support envisioned downtown revitalization while increasing traffic capacity as required by CalTrans.
  • Provide for flexibility of how the streetscape can support different uses along its length.
  • Allow for the future integration of rail transit.
  • Build on the visual and architectural character of the California high desert.

Outcomes

Built

  • Construction of the Palm Canyon Drive streetscape was completed in the Summer of 1998.­­
  • Selective side street closures and innovative traffic management measures held travel lanes to two in each direction, in keeping with the community's wishes.
  • The completed streetscape now hosts palm-lined medians, a landmark bell tower, an IMAX cinema, town square, multiplex cinema, and new shops and restaurants.

In collaboration with:

Cella Barr Associates, Korve Engineering, Sierra Engineering Group, Stark Miers Scott, Dream Engineering, Ray Lopez Associates