Located a short boat ride from Peanut Island and the Palm Beach Inlet, the Riviera Beach Marina features 140,000 sf of interlocking concrete pavers, of which 105,000 sf are permeable. Winner of a 2016 Hardscape North America Honorable Mention Award, the $35 million Riviera Beach Marina redevelopment, completed in March 2016, concluded phase one of a multiphase revitalization project planned for the entire 26-acre Riviera Beach Marina District.
To attract the interest of private developers necessary for future phases of the revitalization master plan, the City of Riviera Beach and the Riviera Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (RBCRA) set their sights on the marina and the surrounding public land as the best site for phase one. The project was jointly funded with the City contributing one-third of the cost and RBCRA the rest.
“It was very important to the city council that this infrastructure investment project accomplish two things,” said Scott Evans, interim executive director of RBCRA. “Create a great waterfront public space for residents and visitors and attract future development from the private market.”
Photos courtesy of Coastal, an Oldcastle Company and Precise Paving, Inc.
Given the scope and scale of the Riviera Beach Marina District revitalization master plan, RBCRA had to apply for an Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) from the South Florida Water Management District. An ERP is required for development or construction activities to prevent flooding, protect the water quality of lakes and streams from stormwater pollution, and protect wetlands and other surface waters.
“Permeable [interlocking concrete] pavers were presented to us by the engineering design team as an environmentally positive method of construction,” said Mr. Evans. In addition to satisfying the ERP requirements for onsite stormwater capture and treatment, the permeable pavement was chosen for aesthetics, sustainability and lower cost.
“Using permeable concrete pavers in the parking lots and on the upper promenade was more cost effective than a traditional underground drainage system,” said Jill Lanigan, Director of Business Development at Song + Associates, the architectural design firm for the Riviera Beach Marina project.
“The soils in coastal municipalities are well suited for the use of permeable pavers,” said Patrick Figurella, P.E., Director of Engineering at Calvin, Giordano, and Associates. Based on the success his firm has had with other permeable paver projects in the region, Mr. Figurella said, “We are always looking for opportunities to use permeable pavers in other locations because of the advantages permeable systems afford with regard to reduction of runoff and providing water storage.”
The permeable paver system with standard exfiltration trenches allows the less than 14-acre marina site to provide 75% of the drainage for the entire Marina District, Mr. Figurella said. The Riviera Beach Marina site not only met the ERP’s present requirements, it established a sustainable site for future vertical development and related impervious surfaces.
In the interim, while RBCRA negotiates with a private developer for phase two construction, the public space created during phase one will be utilized for community programs to attract more visitors. Outdoor music festivals, a weekly green market and movies in the park are just a few of the events planned for the new space to serve the community and entice private developers to join the revitalization effort.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
Initial ocean-themed design concepts for the paver fields considered curvilinear patterns to emulate waves, but through several variations evolved toward an orthogonal design, explained Ms. Lanigan. The waves became geometric, with the varying widths of the fields and the varying lengths of the bands representing a stylized interpretation of waves rolling in and out from the shore. Ultimately, the final design responded better to the marina layout with an added benefit of streamlining the installation process, she said.
To reduce the heat island, the design team chose for the permeable paver fields lighter, natural colors, SRI>29 labelled Amaretto and Napoli. For the bands, they selected darker, contrasting slate to complement the other colors. With the large area of permeable pavers in the upper promenade and parking lots, the 25,000 sf lower promenade along the waterfront instead used standard 2 3/8 in. thick concrete pavers.
Except for 30,000 sf of roadway that was machine-installed, the majority of the pavers were hand installed, according to Rob Goossens, Vice President of Precise Paving. The standard paver section along the dock was installed first and was completed by December 2015. Construction delays compressed the paving schedule for the remaining portion of the project, but Precise Paving successfully installed 105,000 sf of permeable pavers in three months to meet the deadline.
“It was hectic, we had to double up our crews on this job,” Mr. Goossens said. “One good thing with permeable pavers, when you screed the No. 89 bedding aggregate, you don’t have to worry as much about rain causing bedding displacement as you do with regular sand-set pavers.” This allowed his first crew to be more aggressive, screeding up to 10,000 sf sections at a time while the second crew followed behind laying the pavers.
Video courtesy of Precise Paving, Inc.
DEADLINES AND DETAILS
The unique design of the upper promenade with variable field widths and darker bands between prevented machine installation and were installed by hand. For the permeable paver cross section, 14 in. of ASTM No. 4 stone was placed first, then 5 in. of No. 57 stone, followed by 2 in. of No. 89 stone for a total water storage depth of 19 in. beneath the 4 x 8 x 3 1/8 in. thick permeable pavers.
For the roadway, the only section of the project that could be machine installed, the paver manufacturer worked with Precise Paving to optimize mold configuration and determine the best way to palletize the product in order to achieve maximum speed and efficiency.
“Most of it went according to plan,” Mr. Goossens said. “The speed tables in the roadway were probably the biggest challenge.” The original design planned for the speed tables to be poured concrete, but Mr. Goossens convinced the design team to use permeable pavers instead, which saved time and cost by eliminating the concrete for these four 20-foot wide sections. This modification also maintained the continuity of the paver roadway from one end to the other. “It saved the project time, money, and at the end of the day, I think it’s a better product,” Mr. Goossens said.
“It’s not too difficult of a task, but you do have to account for the slopes and the elevations you need to hit,” Mr. Goossens said. “That starts of course with the base and also our screeding.” The elevation change of 6 in. brought the speed tables up flush with the curbs and pedestrian walkways from the parking lot to the event center so they could serve the dual purpose of being crosswalks as well. White pavers were used to demarcate the crosswalks and also for arrows on either side of the tables to alert drivers. Red stripes of ADA-compliant pavers were placed on both sides of each crosswalk.
“This was the first time we used permeable pavers in this manner and they worked beautifully,” said Mr. Figurella.
THE SUPERIOR OPTION
Permeable interlocking concrete pavements (PICP) have become more efficient from a structural and water management perspective. The biggest change agent advancing PICP toward greater use is their cost-effectiveness, especially for redevelopment projects such as the Riviera Beach Marina where every parcel is premium property. Sacrificing land to a detention pond or paying the high cost of installing underground storage vaults can’t compete with the volume and pollutant reduction efficiency, minimal maintenance, longevity, and aesthetic quality of PICP.
Another factor advancing growth is studies by various universities confirming PICP performance. Last but not least, mandates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for onsite stormwater detention, treatment and infiltration make PICP a superior management option. From a life-cycle cost standpoint, the paver surface will last 40 to 50 years without replacement. In contrast, an asphalt surface cracks, requiring routine and unsightly patching, and eventual milling and repaving two or three times over 50 years.
REACTIONS AND RESULTS
Over a year has passed since phase one completion of the Riviera Beach Marina. “We’ve seen a large boost in the number of visitors, thousands of people,” Mr. Evans said. “And our waterfront businesses have had increased traffic as well.” Feedback from the community has been positive. “People really love the public spaces we’ve created.”
Despite initial trepidation by some, Mr. Evans said, concerns have been laid to rest on using permeable pavers for such a large area. “Performance has been positive and the system is working as designed. We’re extremely happy with it.”
Regarding maintenance, RBCRA has conducted occasional spot cleaning and sweeping, but hasn’t had any major issues, Mr. Evans said. “We’ve installed a few monument signs recently and there was concern that the process would be more challenging, but it went smoothly. We were able to take up the pavers, make some changes for the signs, and then put them back successfully.”
“It really turned out to be a great project,” Mr. Goossens said. “We had a demonstration there in June, brought in a fire truck and doused an area with 200 gallons per minute for 10 minutes. Walking over the area after they shut off the hose, there was no standing water and you could actually hear all the water filtering down through the aggregates. It’s impressive.”
“This marks the first time we’ve used permeable pavers for a city street,” Mr. Figurella said. “Riviera Beach is leading other municipalities to consider the utilization of permeable pavers for public roadways or alleyways.”