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Site Approach and Access

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Drop-off, Pick-up and Parking
Existing Conditions 

All campuses need improvements for the drop-off and pick-up zones to alleviate traffic congestion, make access to the school easier and to improve student safety. Studies have shown that in the U.S. in 1970, approximately 50% of children walked to school and today it’s around 13%. CCUSD schools were designed for a smaller population than today’s, so infrastructure is lagging to meet today’s needs. Some campuses challenges include loading distance that is too short, a lack of parking attendants and double parking occurring in the loop blocking the flow. On some campuses such as La Ballona Elementary School, traffic studies have been done by Culver City Public Works Department.  

At many campuses, students come from different directions and come in at different entries for a smooth flow with no bottlenecks.  When it is not drop-off or pick-up time, all campuses are to have a single point of entry at Admin for security.

Parking is grossly inadequate at most campuses. As aides and counselors increase at each site for inclusionary practices, the situation will only worsen. The master plans created at the time of these Ed Specs, each provide a specific solution for the campus to increase parking for school staff, early childhood parents, and visitors. In some cases, the need for parking requires underground parking to be able to keep the outdoor play spaces intact. Locating parking or drop off next to learning studios for students with disabilities is important.


Programs such as CCUSD’s Backpacks for Kids program run through the Culver City Council of PTAs must be considered for parking and unloading at sites to which donations are brought to be organized for distribution. 

Drop-off, Pick-up and Parking
Planning Principles

Each master plan provides specific solutions at a conceptual design level. Below is a list of best practices when renovating campuses to improve drop-off, pick-up and parking keeping pedestrians safe:

  • Include at least one designated student drop-off and pick-up area with a passing lane, no shorter than 200 feet in length clearly labeled with appropriate curb striping, pavement markings, and signage

  • Separate parking, drop-off / pick-up, bus loading areas, and parking areas to ensure the safety of students entering and exiting the school

  • The design of pedestrian areas should be more developed in targeted areas, such as drop-off locations and waiting areas where students can gather before class begins

  • Provide enough parking spaces for staff and visitors:  a minimum of 2.25 parking stalls per teaching station, and accessible spaces to meet ADA code

  • Reducing pedestrian and vehicular crossing

  • Use appropriate barriers

  • Clearly mark pedestrian walking zones and vehicular driving zones

  • Provide signage at relevant locations for simple way-finding

  • Speed bumps are recommended for moderating vehicular speed in drop-off and parking areas to further protect pedestrians

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Safe Routes to School

Culver City’s Safe Routes to School Program is based on programs in Denmark, Copenhagen which encourage walking, skating, scooting, biking, carpooling to overcome transportation challenges. The “3 Block Challenge” encourages parents to park and walk three blocks to school at least once a week to reduce traffic and pollution around the school. This program not only helps alleviate traffic congestion, but it also raises a child’s awareness of their role in environmental stewardship, creates additional time for parents to spend with their children, teaches children the essentials of traffic safety and instills good daily habits for fitness in children.. 


To better support these programs that work to alleviate congestion and encourage more physical activity in children, details such as locating bike racks in visible and convenient locations adjacent to bike lanes for a higher population of students biking is needed. Some campuses, such as Culver City Middle School and Culver City High School have an insufficient amount of bike racks which are poorly located.

 Concepts and Ideas 

Service Areas and Receiving 

Service areas are crucial to the functions of the campus. These have been indicated in the master plans at the conceptual design level. Such areas include:

  • Storage Areas 

  • Parking for CCUSD vehicles

  • Parking for maintenance equipment

  • Delivery zones for food service and supplies

  • Waste and recycling enclosures 

  • Compost areas (if a campus has a composting program)

Service areas should be designed for high traffic, heavy equipment, storage and removal of waste and recycling. These areas should be dispersed throughout the school’s campus and be adjacent to the buildings they serve. Because deliveries are typically scheduled for early mornings or in the evening, adequate lighting should be provided to these areas. A potential new central kitchen at Culver City High School and production kitchen at the Office of Child Development would require wide access ramps to connect the parking area to the delivery door.

Each campus should have maintenance service points. One service point should be located at the front of the campus and other service points throughout the campus should be contained to maintain student safety and promote circulation efficiency. Below is a list of guidelines:

  • Provide direct access from the street to delivery/utility vehicles area without crossing over play areas or student gathering areas, the field areas, or the drop-off zone

  • Provide adequate space for large vehicles to maneuver in and out for waste/recycling pick up and food service and supply deliveries

  • Install durable ‘Heavy Traffic” vehicular pavement and/or asphalt concrete pavement sfor the entire access way

  • Maintenance service points should include a covered storage area for equipment and machinery that is separated from the campus center

  • Isolate the trash pickup area with fencing or other barriers from foot traffic areas

  • Trash and recycling enclosures must be covered and include proper drainage

  • A covered trash bin washing area should be included in the trash enclosures with a curb enclosed drain and hose bib

  • Trash and recycling bins should have their own lids so that odors do not flow to other areas

  • To encourage student and faculty recycling efforts and to create an easy pick up route for maintenance staff, recycling collection areas should be places at the edges of buildings

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