New amenities are coming to the State Street promenade.
As an interim measure, the promenade will soon have large terracotta pots, iron-looking traffic delineators, a green bike path down the center and string lighting — all in an effort to create a more permanent look rather than a construction look.
On Tuesday, the Santa Barbara City Council unanimously approved the authorization of no more than $250,000 to purchase delineators and lighting.
Rob Dayton, the city’s transportation manager, said “interim” in this case most likely means two to three years.
He added that the $250,000 is coming from a fund that would have originally gone toward redesigning the street, if it wasn’t for the pandemic.
A big consideration for the staff and council was that of creating a pedestrian-friendly and cyclist-friendly street. The green bike path, according to staff, will channel bikers to the middle.
“We want cyclists to take the responsibility for not hitting anyone,” Mr. Dayton said. “It’s the cyclist that has to figure it out and protect the pedestrian.”
Mayor Pro Tempore Kristen Sneddon stated she was hesitant with the approval due to the fact that a survey from the public on the future of State Street will be returning to the city in a month’s time.
“I’m not comfortable with moving into something that might be two to three years before we’re getting results back from the public,” she said.
However, she said she supports the improvements.
“We have no idea what’s happening a month or six months or a year from now anyhow,” council member Mike Jordan said. “There’s a clear reason to jump on this right now with two weeks and three days until Daylight Savings Time.”
In other news, the council unanimously approved the Mobilehome Park Overlay Zone and related section map amendments, and will initiate code amendments to re-establish vacancy rent control.
This will subsequently protect existing mobile home parks from redevelopment to other uses.
“We are in a housing crisis right now with affordability and mobile homes provide some stability, and many residents have lived there for decades,” council member Eric Friedman said. “We have an obligation and a duty to our community to protect what we already have.”
Council member Meagan Harmon echoed the support of protecting mobile home parks.
“It’s becoming more and more expensive, and prohibitively so, for many folks to either maintain residence in the park or move into one, so I think these are very important changes,” she said. “There’s this fundamental asymmetry where the park owner has quite a bit of leverage over its residents.”
Mayor Cathy Murillo added, “I will do everything I can to protect their housing as it is.”
Finally, the council unanimously denied Scott Wenz’s, with Cars Are Basic, appeal to deny the Olive Mill Roundabout Project.
City staff found that the project maintains existing public/coastal access, strives to resolve functional concerns, ensures safe and efficient connections to all modes, provides robust pedestrian and bicycle facilities, is sensitive to historic structures, uses materials appropriate for the Santa Barbara region and the design is accommodated within the existing right-of-way.
In response to the appeal, staff found that roundabouts do not increase vehicle miles traveled per the State Office of Planning guidelines and reduced delay/idling results in reduced energy consumption.
In addition, they found the project would minimize vehicle miles traveled due to no roadway expansion, improvement to an existing intersection, narrowed travel lanes to slow traffic and improvement to pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
“I thank Mr. Becker and Mr. Wenz for the watchdog work that they do on these issues,” said Mayor Murillo. “I appreciated his argumentation, but I am persuaded that the appeal issues have been addressed.”