More art deco and options for bicycle parking were among suggestions the Buellton Planning Commision had for the Avenue of Flags Median 2 design plan at its meeting Thursday night.
Approximately a third of the design plan is complete and will be presented to the Buellton City Council next week.
Ron Milligan with MNS Engineers told commissioners Thursday that the firm was taking the Avenue of Flags Specific Plan, which was adopted in October 2017, and implementing it into a real design.
Median 2, the first median south of Damassa Road, is currently a grassy area with parallel parking along its northbound side. But under the plan, the area is envisioned as public parking area that can be closed off for special events.
“It’s meant for parking but we’re trying to maximize the type of landscape that we’re able to implement out there,” Milligan said.
The design drawings show two rows of diagonal parking inside the median with turnarounds at either end.
Commission Chair Dan Heedy wanted the minimum width of a parking space set at 8½ feet wide, rather than the 8 feet initially proposed for compact cars.
“I have to say in my experience I’ve restriped parking lots two weeks after we put in eight footers,” Heedy said. “That’s very narrow and getting out of cars your dinging your next door neighbors. I have not had good luck with 8 feet wide.”
Milligan said the spacing could be increased the extra half foot. He said a standard space would be 9 feet wide.
Commissioner Patty Hammel was concerned about the idea of replacing the current 50-foot flagpole with two 30-foot flagpoles.
“I mean if you’re going down the avenue isn’t everything else 50 feet?” Hammel asked. “Don't we want to fly our flag high?”
Public Works Director Rose Hess said the intent of the specific plan was to make things more pedestrian-friendly, which is why the city is removing existing “cobra style” lighting and replacing it with decorative pedestrian and streetlights used elsewhere in the commercial areas of the city.
Hammel wanted to know if the designs could incorporate more art deco, and suggested using the design style with the planters.
“I was trying to think about how we could incorporate art deco during the project and I mean it’s just parking,” Milligan said, adding that the benches could have more of an art deco design or engineers could include inset plaques into the concrete.
Heedy recommended bringing back some art deco options for the commissioners to consider.
“You’re at what, 30 percent? I’m sure we’ll see something again at 70 or something. I think some options,” Heedy said.
“Yeah so we can choose,” Hammel said.
One woman recommended including spaces for motorcycle and bike parking. She also commented that the city should consider putting landscape trees in the middle of the parking lot, because “it’s just plain unattractive. This looks just like a large parking lot.”
Commissioner Michael Eglin and Heedy said they were concerned about someone pulling out of a parking space and hitting a tree if it were in the middle.
Hammel said during a large event, there might be a need for the center area.
“We might get a big event in there that needs that whole middle section,” Hammel said. “I like the idea of more green stuff but maybe it’s more around the edges. I just don’t see it in the middle for this type of space.”
The commissioners asked engineers to come back with options for bicycle and motorcycle parking.
Eglin wanted to know when the project was expected to break ground.
Hess said it would be roughly a year.
Median improvements are expected to cost $1.7 million total, with $250,000 allocated for the design phase.
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