Copenhagen Drive in Solvang has reopened to automobiles after shuttering for about two years to allow parklets during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A city official confirmed the road had reopened Monday for driving and parking, in line with a Solvang City Council imposed deadline.
Workers spent the last few weeks completing prep work, which included restriping the lots and removing the parklets. Reopening the road has led to about 60 parking spaces becoming available again.
As in other places around Santa Barbara County, the parklets were a point of contention, with some residents expressing support for the parklets and the European atmosphere they created while others wanted the road to return to a pre-pandemic normal with more parking options.
During a February city council meeting, during which members instructed staff to begin the reopening process, a survey was cited which said the “No. 1 issue … was parking,” according to the Santa Ynez Valley News.
“Right now, it only benefits the restaurants and wineries who are able to bust out more seating, but not the retailers, especially down First Street,” Mayor Charlie Uhrig reportedly said.
Councilmember Robert Clarke said then: “I have no problem opening the street and seeing how it goes, but I feel that it looks more appealing closed.”
The city official said a program is in the works for businesses that have the space and would like to continue providing an outdoor dining space.