Storm drains remain open, not affected by parklets
State Street fared well during this week’s major winter storm, despite some minor flooding onto downtown sidewalks, city officials said.
“Storm drains remained open and flowing, though some were at capacity during heaviest downpours,” Sarah Clark, the city of Santa Barbara’s downtown plaza parking manager, told the News-Press.
“We had high volumes of water everywhere, but especially the 400, 500 and 600 blocks, where we saw some minor flooding onto the sidewalks,” she said. “However, the water drained away pretty quickly once the rain eased up. In some areas, this left mud behind which crews are working on cleaning.”
Stormwater runoff was able to flow down the street uninterrupted despite the presence of the outdoor dining parklets that line both sides of lower State Street — including 15 parklets that, as of the last city inspection, had not made the required adjustments in their design necessary to accommodate stormwater runoff, missing a Dec. 1 deadline.
“Parklets on State Street did not prevent the flow of stormwater,” Ms. Clark said. “We checked the street regularly to make sure water was flowing along the gutter, and parklet drainage channels remained open. We did not have to move any parklets.”
City staff headed out Wednesday for the next round of inspections, she said.
The delinquent parklets had been issued administrative citations that gave a Jan. 6 compliance deadline. Each administrative citation carries a fine of $100.
Following Wednesday’s reinspection, the city will send out another round of administrative citations for any parklets that remain noncompliant.
“If a business receives two admin citations and fails to remedy the violation by the compliance date on the second citation, they will have their right-of-way operation privileges suspended and will have to remove their facilities,” Ms. Clark told the News-Press previously.
Most of the restaurants with parklets that made the adjustments installed a drainage channel to allow the water to flow beneath it or alongside it. Others have pulled their parklets away from the curb and made them more narrow. A few have removed platforms and switched to portable, at-grade designs.
The first round of inspections revealed only 17 of the 50 parklets between the 400 and 1200 blocks of State Street had made the adjustments. A second round showed 12 parklets were noncompliant, with four more left to be inspected. Three of those four remained delinquent, bringing the total to 15.
“Several of these businesses have contacted us and are working to bring their facilities into compliance,” Ms. Clark said at the time.
In most cases, restaurants have cut drainage channels, using a steel diamond plate to bridge the gap. Others have pulled their parklets away from the curb and made them more narrow. A few have removed platforms and switched to portable, at-grade designs.