As noted by Bonnie Donovan (Voices, Oct. 23), Capt. Salisbury Haley may have been “a wise and careful planner” when it came to street plans.
Given the narrow natural corridor the city occupies, his plan for a long State Street, with east and west side streets, makes inevitable good sense, as a traffic plan. But it is not a city plan, and especially not a plan for the Mediterranean-style city that Pearl Chase dreamed of.
Large or small, no typical Mediterranean city is without a marketplace or plaza that functions as its physical and social center. With a church or cathedral at one end, the plaza is also a spiritual and cultural center.
Pretending downtown State Street is a large central plaza where one can stroll about, dine out, visit shops or farmers markets, and still bring a car, has only turned Pearl Chase’s dream into an eat-in-the-street nightmare.
Whereas Goleta is a marketplace in search of a city, Santa Barbara is a city in search of a marketplace. While there are a couple of places to put one on the west side of State Street, where it would be open to and not block mountain views, Carrillo Street would probably be the best. And we have to replace Paseo Nuevo with something hopefully useful and beautiful.
We have Mediterranean buildings galore; we just need a Mediterranean city to put them in. That starts with designing and locating a central marketplace.