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Beach path should be safer soon in Santa Barbara

Beach path improvements
New improvements for bike riders and pedestrians are taking place along the Santa Barbara waterfront. (Photo: KEYT)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - After many safety conflicts with pedestrians and bike riders along the Santa Barbara waterfront, some changes should provide more spacing.

The popular beachway path is getting a redesign at the west side of Stearns Wharf.

Once finished next month, the pedestrians will be directed to the sidewalk along Cabrillo Boulevard. Bike riders will be directed to the bike path next to the sand.

The work will also include walking paths to the restrooms and other improvements between the base of the wharf and the skatepark.

The city released this statement on the project, expected to be finished next month:

Stearns Wharf Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety Improvement Project Begins

Pedestrian and cyclists do not always mix well.  Santa Barbarans and tourists experience this challenge on the City’s Waterfront Beachway.

 Mixing cyclists and pedestrians on this pathway can result in safety conflicts.  Pedestrians can also feel uncomfortable as cyclists speed by them.  To address these safety concerns, the Project involves pedestrian and bicyclist safety improvements from the Beachway at Skater’s Point off Cabrillo Boulevard west along the Beachway to the entrance to Stearns Wharf.  The goal of the Project is to keep pedestrians and cyclists separated and  to reduce conflict points by encouraging pedestrian use of the Cabrillo sidewalk and cyclist use of the Beachway. The Project is anticipated to be complete in early February 2021. This is a Vision Zero Project to reduce and eliminate severe injuries and fatalities in the City.

The project includes reconstruction of the sidewalks and Beachway around the Stearns Wharf restroom, and reorienting the Beachway toward the ocean by six feet on the northeast side of the Stearns Wharf crosswalk. A second, pedestrian-only crosswalk will be installed northwest of the existing shared crosswalk, and green bicycle stenciling will be painted on the Beachway. A pervious sidewalk will be constructed at an angle connecting the Stearns Wharf sidewalk to Cabrillo Boulevard’s sidewalk so that pedestrians do not damage the Chase Palm Park grass, and the pervious concrete will have a perpendicular path connecting to the restroom in the area. The Project also involves new signage, the addition of bicycle racks for beach goers, and landscape improvements, including removal of two concrete connections between the skate park’s perimeter sidewalk and the Beachway that will be replaced with turf. The sidewalk and Beachway will be separated by a wrought iron rail, matching the existing rail, further defining the separation of the paths.

Local Politics / Santa Barbara - South County
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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3 and NewsChannel 12. To learn more about John, click here.

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