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CSUS, City partner to improve Crowell Road conditions for pedestrians
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California State University, Stanislaus and the City of Turlock are joining forces to improve Crowell Road, which borders the college, in order to create a safer environment for pedestrians and drivers alike.

“We were approached by the University and asked if we would partner with them,” said Director of Development Services Mike Pitcock. “The goal is to enhance the environment for people trying to get across Crowell Road.”

Four rectangular flashing signs will be instated to create better visibility for those traversing the area by foot which includes students, residents of the neighboring apartments, as well as community members of the Paramount Court Senior Living Center who use the college for exercise purposes.

The University will be contributing 60 percent of the costs and the City will front the remaining 40 percent from funds that have already been budgeted.

City staff accepted bids for the Crowell Road Pedestrian Improvement project until Thursday with the hopes of construction beginning on April 6, which falls during the CSUS spring break. On Tuesday the City Council approved the purchase of the flashing signs to expedite construction, which will also include creating bulb-outs. Bulb-outs are a form of curb extensions that narrows the roads at crosswalks in order to create an additional sidewalk space for pedestrians waiting to cross, in turn highlighting their visibility.

“With the lights and the bulb-outs we’re hoping to create a greater awareness for drivers,” said Pitcock.

On Tuesday, the Council also:

·         Approved appropriating $175,000 to a revenue account for plan checking services. The City utilizes external plan checking consultants to ensure that plans are compliant with the California Building Code. While the City has two internal plan checkers, their services are reserved for what Pitcock calls “less highly complex” issues. Plus, one of the two individuals is retiring. “It’s tough to have someone on staff who can do all of that,” explained Pitcock of the work required when examining plans for compliance as well as the sporadic timeline with which applicants submit plans. “Sometimes the plans seem to happen all at once or not at all.” With a number of high profile recent projects —  including buildings in Monte Vista Crossings, U.S. Cold Storage’s expansions, and the development of Hilmar Cheese’s Turlock site — the City has drawn on outside plan checkers more than anticipated. While these larger projects in turn mean more revenue for the City, the $175,000 will augment the budget necessary to keep turnaround time with the plans reasonable, which is a vital component of the process and the City of Turlock’s customer service.

·         Announced that Vice Mayor Amy Bublak will be presenting upon the state of the city alongside County Supervisor Vito Chiesa and Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Sharon Silva at the Chamber’s annual membership breakfast on March 12.