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Culver streetscape design approved

By Debbie Lyons
   Culver correspondent
   Barb Frazier, Culver Planning Commission member, made a motion to accept the Culver streetscape design as presented March 5, by Matthew Arnold of Sierra Architects, with the addition that they will address concerns of business owners on a case-by-case basis.
   The motion came during the Culver Planning Commission regular meeting and the Culver City Council special meeting. It was seconded by Clyde Wright and approved by all planning commission members.
   Shawna Clanton, city councilor, then made a motion for the council members to approve the design, which was approved as well.
   Arnold of Sierra Architects presented an update at this meeting for the public to see the proposed streetscape design for Culver's First Avenue. It also involves C Street west of First Street and A Street.
   The project began with a public workshop in December 2007. He explained this is a process to establish the framework for this project.
   The process included existing road conditions analysis, a streetscape tour which council members participated in, streetscape and development concepts and public workshops.
   Arnold said, "Getting sidewalks in is key" for this improvement plan. One of the concerns of the community was older people and kids crossing at intersections.
   Continental crosswalks with curb extensions are in the proposed plan. This visually narrows the roadway and helps slow drivers down he explained.
   Another key part of the plan is new parking, with angled parking on one side and parking on the other.
   Other parts of the streetscape plan include improved highway/street drainage system, streetlights, banners that can be used on streetlights, landscaping with trees, plants and benches.
   This first phase is from current year to 2010, phase 2 will be approximately 2012 to 2011 and phase 3 will be upon development of the adjacent parcel.
   Since this is state Highway 361, the Oregon Department of Transportation will be involved in this project. Gary Farnsworth of ODOT was also at the meeting and said there will be lots of flexibility and they will assist in doing what is best for overall community.
   He said this project will be done in partnership with the Culver community and ODOT. The streetscape goal is creating a downtown environment.
   After completion of this initial planning phase, the next step in this process will be taken over by OBEC, an engineering firm to implement the plan. They are hired by the city to develop this project.