Last Sunday’s article on parklets (“Parking vs. Parklets Debate Continues on Coast Village Road,” News-Press) and our Mayor Randy Rowse asking what does the public want galvanized me to compose this letter.
THE PUBLIC WANTS THEM OUT!
I am referring to Santa Barbara residents, not the weekend visitors who are here only for a short time in our beautiful city.
There was a time when parklets were a life preserver for the restaurants on State Street and a few other streets. They were necessary for the financial saving of the business. There wasn’t a soul who was against parklets including me.
But that time has passed.
COVID-19 has raised its ugly head and has been tamed. Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says we will have to learn to live with COVID as we do flu and other contagious diseases. Yet the parklets remain cluttering up State Street, and now we find out that they were illegal due to their spilling over into the street so that emergency vehicles (fire trucks and ambulances) could not access incidents on State Street.
Mayor Rowse, you are a businessman and a previous restaurant owner so your connection is easy to see. My question to the mayor would be how do you justify as a government official giving those restaurants a leg up and an obvious and unfair advantage over all other restaurants in Santa Barbara? This appears to be favoritism of the worst sort.
The additional insult is that these now unfair parklets are dictating that our 98th world famous Fiesta Parade will NOT be able to make its way up State Street. Why are their now unneeded and unwanted presence allowed to change an almost a century-old parade route?
I have noticed that our local media have not really put that out to the public so most do not realize that all our favorite parades will no longer be up State Street.
Get rid of the unfair advantage parklets and reopen our beloved State Street and let our beautiful town return to normal activities.