Skip to Content

State Street changes continue along with plans for a mini-shuttle in downtown promenade area

New striping is part of the ongoing change to State St. in downtown Santa Barbara.  A mini-shuttle could be next.
John Palminteri
New striping is part of the ongoing change to State St. in downtown Santa Barbara. A mini-shuttle could be next.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The look of Santa Barbara's downtown is changing on a regular basis and in an update to the Santa Barbara City Council, plans are in the works for a mini-shuttle and new configurations for some outside dining.

A monthly update is presented to the council titled, State Street Interim Operations. The council dropped an agenda item from Tuesday's meeting due to an issue with the report. It will be discussed next month.

Recently, new striping was added to identify areas where bikes should be going. That left some street area and the sidewalk for pedestrians. In the promenade cars are allowed on two blocks in one direction. It's between Anapamu Street and Sola Street.

There's still an ongoing concern about higher speed electric bikes and over all safety, where bikes, cars and pedestrians are sharing spaces.

The city is also ready to revisit a mini-shuttle transportation system. A request for proposals is behind schedule and a staff report suggests it will be going out by the end of March. The city report said it was originally expected by the end of 2023, but "staffing and workload have delayed this effort."

What's been most apparent is the temporary bike lanes on State Street. They were marked off in December from the 500-1200 blocks. The staff said the Historic Landmarks Commission is involved and will assist in selecting appropriate vertical elements, "to provide and encourage orderly movement on State Street." The changes will start in the 1200 block between Anapamu St. and Victoria St. and expand to other blocks.

In front of the Granada Theatre, a passenger drop off location has been reestablished in the direction of the one-lane vehicle traffic. Future work on the location will include an ADA compliant ramp at that drop off spot.

Nearby, the city is proposing changes to create a 20-foot wide fire lane on the first block of West Victoria Street, along with a two-lane traffic flow where it is one-way now.

Changes are also expected in the 1300 block around the Arlington Theatre to better handle the combination of cars, bikes, pedestrians and street dining parklets, along with appropriate access for drop offs at the theatre. This may include angle parking and changes to the size of two parklets, one at Opal restaurant and the other across the street at Carlitos Cafe.

Santa Barbara resident Brett Holthe walks or rides his bike on State St. daily.
"It's kind of a mixed bag here ," he said. "Some of these blocks have more parklets than others so I don't know how you can put a plan together for all these  different types of situations in the street." There is a master plan discussion that looks at each block and the entire promenade as suggested changes are developed.

Santa Barbara resident Gina Fischer was riding her bike downtown and said, "the Arlington Theatre (block) is kind of a weird one and they need to figure out something else." That block has a shared space with cars, bikes, pedestrians, parklets and parking on both sides of the street. "I like being able to bike in a little more safety," said Fischer.

Nearby in front of the Granada Theatre where the flow has been adjusted by restriping, Fischer said
"I use the bike lane."

The increase of bike usage, especially the higher speed electric bikes has been a top concern. Frank Hsin said, "I am happy they have slowed down the bicyclists. I have noticed that the bicyclists are slower which I think is better." He has seen the risks. "If you are walking out here with an elderly parent, grandparent or people visiting from out of town and they walk into the wrong area and they get clipped by someone going 20 miles an hour, that's not good."

City leaders are looking at both short term and long term plans.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
Santa Barbara
state street

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

John Palminteri

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


News Channel 3-12 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content