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Promenade spacing compliance helps Santa Barbara fire have access to tight downtown areas

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The March 8 deadline to comply with new rules in downtown Santa Barbara didn't originally get a sweeping acceptance, but the compliance has been met.

About two dozen businesses had to cut and trim back their existing parklets and patios to create a 20-foot clearance in the middle of the street for fist responders, primarily  the fire department. Prior to March 8, the promenade was in place with a slightly different set of guidelines. 

The fire department said it was cooperating in the time of the pandemic emergency but a 14-foot space down the middle of the street, before March 8, wasn't enough.  

The department needed more room to work around their vehicles and especially if they had to call in additional fire engines, along with AMR and police.


Prior to March 8, the city contacted business owners, took measurements and made markings to show where the dining areas could fit and where they were out of bounds.

The fire department made a point to identify three building addresses where its ladder truck had to get near the structure in order to have full access to the highest floors. A parklet or the patio in the way would have blocked adequate parking for the fire equipment.

Interim Santa Barbara Public Works Downtown Manager Jessica Grant said, "we achieved near 100 percent compliance for the 20-foot fire lane requirement. If there was business not complaint it was referred to the city attorney's office."

The promenade is expected to have more changes and improvements ahead. 

 Some soon and some are long range.


Grant said, "we will have additional funding for deep cleaning of the state street promenade. As well as additional decorative lighting."


Among those hanging out and enjoying their day, Dani Lozza said, "I do like that we are more personally connect with people, even if it is just people watching. I do like to see people."

Bree Norberg said, "it feels good and I think it attracts more people. I am all for it and I am wondering if the next phase is to make things look more uniform."


Sitting near a street musician, Morgan Willow said, "we can have more buskers.   We can have more people. There is more of an opportunity for us to connect and socialize with people."

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3. To learn more about John, click here.

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