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Coast Village Road gets a long awaited renewal as a gateway from Montecito into Santa Barbara

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Coast Village Road in Santa Barbara is getting a fresh look, but to get there, quite a bit of construction is taking place.

It is a collaboration between the City of Santa Barbara and the Coast Village Improvement Association. This includes "building new infrastructure for businesses, traffic, safety, and beautification of the physical road through a road paving, and commercial loading zone project," according to the CVA. 

Currently, crews from Granite construction are working in several areas on curb and gutter work.

To get to this point, the city public works department and the association came together at one of the problems spots, saw the issues, made a plan and found the funding.

"We all stood, at 1187 (Coast Village Road) and we watched the medians get beat up and, the  ten delivery trucks come, " said Beth Sullivan the Executive Director of the Coast Village Improvement Association. This followed years of harsh weather and overall, more impacts. "Coast Village Road has endured floods, mudslides, debris flows. The pandemic, the people and the businesses and the infrastructure have taken a beating."

The goal is to have all the work done by Memorial Day weekend, then pause for the summer and come back in after Labor Day to pave the entire street from Olive Mill  to Hot Springs Road.

After the paving , there will be a new landscaping , art and lighting plans. "We'll have native plants. We'll have drought resistant plants. Hopefully we can make space for the community, to enjoy events," said Sullivan.

Drivers will find a changing cone pattern while the work is taking place, but the street remains open and all stores can be accessed from Coast Village Road or the back parking lots.

Funding for some of the future projects including improved beautification will come from the Coast Village Improvement District, which is a designated area of businesses that pay a special annual tax for projects in the area that add to the economic vitality. Those projects and this funding supplements what the city already has in motion and they work together towards a final product.

Those who live, shop and visit here say it is uniquely different than the Funk Zone or the downtown promenade but understand the changes come with some traffic and noise.

Denise Burrows lives nearby and said, "it's great thoroughfare. It needs to be looked at for sure." Shopping in one of the clothing stores, Heidi Artman said, "is wonderful. I mean, I can't believe it because I live right here and watch every day, tearing  everything up and it was so horrible. The city is actually doing it. It's so exciting and there's going to be more parking."

Suggesting an alternative plan, Burrows said she favored removing some trees and adding more parking. "I would have done it completely differently. I would have car parking all the way down the median," said Burrows. She did say the changes were necessary.

Sullivan said, "I want it to evoke the feeling when people arrive at that roundabout that they have arrived, and they know that this is Coast Village Road and it is the gateway to Montecito and Santa Barbara. I want the merchants and the residents to be proud of this road and what we can accomplish together."

Looking ahead Artman said, "yeah, and more people are really to coming to Coast Village almost more than downtown and I mean it's thriving."

Recently the eastern end of Coast Village Road added a roundabout project to improve traffic circulation at the intersection with Olive Mill Road and Highway 101. It will fit in with the upcoming freeway widening plan in the area in the next three years.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
Santa Barbara

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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