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Creative ideas coming from the South Coast Chamber of Commerce on redesigning downtown Santa Barbara

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Some fresh ideas on redesigning downtown Santa Barbara are coming from the South Coast Chamber of Commerce.

Executive Director Kristen Miller and her staff have been walking the street to see what's working, what's not and what innovative new ideas can be put together in the short and long time frame to help recharge the historic area that has been struggling since pre-COVID by a few years.

Even before the pandemic there were warning signs of slowing foot traffic and increasing vacancies.

After the pandemic some blocks and businesses specifically have enjoyed success with outside dining areas and an open-air look the city did not have on State Street between the 500 block at Haley St. and the 1300 block at Sola St.

The Chamber's ideas include adding more picnic tables and entertainment areas for people who want to enjoy the space or eat outside from a variety of food places. The mix of uses is broad with different blocks having different looks. That includes some with cars, and some without. Also, some with a meandering bike lane.

The most vibrant block is between Cota St. and Haley St. with several outside dining areas and night life.

Recently the downtown area has seen the return of a shuttle on the borders of the promenade on a limited schedule for the weekends. The special funding for the service ends on Labor Day in September. A shuttle or tram has been suggested in many reports and surveys.

(More details, photos and video will be added here later today.)

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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