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Downtown Santa Barbara changes in the works to help firefighters with access and add a drop off at the Arlington

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Some modifications are in the works for the downtown Santa Barbara promenade and a plan to make those changes is coming together, after a decision to wait until the end of the recent Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The city will review the staff report at the regular council meeting Tuesday in City Hall starting at 2 p.m.    The reports are coming on a regular monthly basis to the council this year.

One of the highlights is the possible return of a shuttle transportation system on State Street.  The city will be looking for operators and a city report said "staffing and workload have delayed this effort." The outreach for operators will begin by the end of next month.

Julie Anderson, a Santa Barbara resident thinks a shuttle would be a good idea.  "I think it could help more people come to downtown. If it helps people  get downtown and brings more people downtown to support locally I am all for it.   I know there will have to be some adjustment possibly to the roads and things or what restaurants have moved into the road."

The new striping for bike lanes took place in early December in the area from the 500-1200 block of State Street.

The city will also receive an update on plans to add or modify bike lanes to the 1300 block of State Street that will include a drop off at the Arlington Theatre.

On Victoria Street, between Chapala and State St. parklets will have to be reduced in size to allow for more space for fire trucks. Already the Public Market has taken its parklet out.

The fire department says the way it is now has to change for fire apparatus to efficiently respond to calls.  Pictures will be presented to show the challenges the department has when both parklets and parked cars are in the area.

Still to be resolved is the issue of speeding electric bikes, even though new bike lanes have been striped to create a more controlled guide.

Denise Burdick said, "it's still too fast. too fast for pedestrians  and people crossing over and people flying through."

Anderson said, "especially having kids down here we are always trying to navigate that because  we like to walk in the street too:"

Having more controls on bikes speeds has been suggested by not easy to enforce.

Burdick said, "they need to slow down or be on a different road but not where people are walking, it is not a good combination."

One young person said she was hit by a bike, going to see some music.

Genevieve Mack recalled, "I heard it and I came running over and I forgot to check but someone was coming really, really fast and not looking.

I think it is good that bikes can come along but when there is a ton of walkers and bikes at the same time it's  kind of  asking for that to happen."
Having restrictions on the bikes would leave some riders and those using downtown feeling left out.

Lillie Karam said,  "some kids don't have their licensees yet and  State Street is where we always come down on the weekend.  It makes it more accessible."

The changes are not permanent and will be part of the big picture discussion and the ongoing State Street Master Planning process.

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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