Sep 13, 2023
August 24, 2023|by Erik Torkells
Monday’s meeting of the State Street Advisory Committee included another presentation by consultants MIG Inc. and city staff about what form the State Street Promenade might take. The focus was on thinking about it as three “districts,” and “to discuss the programming, activity and identity of each district” to “guide mobility decisions” (i.e., whether cars should be allowed).
The presentation included a big disclaimer: “All concepts shown include a 20-24-foot corridor that could support most mobility options. The illustrations do not represent or assume any mobility options, which could be interpreted as promoting a pedestrian-only solution for all 10 blocks. This is not the case.” And yet it was followed by a slide that made closing the street to cars seem like a foregone conclusion:
As I did not attend the meeting, I can’t say whether that point was explored further.
The idea is that each of the three districts will have “a unique sense of place, look and feel, and site layout,” with “at least one plaza/gathering area in each district” and the goal of “[accentuating] connections to the paseo network and key downtown institutions, spaces, and destinations.”
(You may have noticed that the area under discussion extends the promenade one block north, to Sola Street, and two blocks south, to Highway 101. Businesses below Haley would benefit from State becoming pedestrian-only, but it would make getting around downtown a huge pain. And I don’t understand how the Promenade area could go all the way to Highway 101; cars have to access the underpass somehow.)
Counterintuitively, the presentation started with district #3, Old Town—which is not the Presidio, or even Presidio-adjacent, but the nightlife-centric blocks between Highway 101 and Ortega Street.
District #2, referred to as The Core on the map, is called the Civic District elsewhere in the presentation. It’s the three blocks from Ortega to Carrillo. I’ll leave it to you to figure out how the proposed design elements create “a magnetic new destination for locals and visitors”—or even how it substantively differs from Old Town.
District #1, from Carrillo to Sola, is the Arts District.
The challenge with rethinking State Street is that we all bring a unique set of priorities. Personally, I have three: outside dining; a more cohesive, less ragtag look; and to feel safe. While I enjoy riding my bike on State, I don’t feel safe walking anywhere but the sidewalks, thanks to the people on electric bikes. And aside from extending the tree canopy, nearly everything in the presentation—buskers, community posting boards, retail kiosks, immersive lighting, games, interactive water features, people paying Frisbee or catch—sounds like stuff I’d cross the street to avoid, even if done well. Is anyone taking into consideration the costs of maintaining and programming such a space?
OK, fine, maybe I’m not the target demographic. But the city ignores older people and the relatively affluent at its own peril; people with more time and disposable income are helpful in keeping a downtown afloat.
And that leads me to the big question: can you really have “moments of joy” if the nearby shops and restaurants aren’t thriving? Would you even go there in the first place? And is it possible that instead of all this programming the city would be better off spending its limited resources on reimagining the bureaucracy that makes opening and running a business here so difficult? And incentivizing economic development instead of scaring it away? A vibrant State Street starts with the businesses on it; everything else is ancillary.
I do think I could still be convinced about the merits of a car-free State Street. Increasingly, however, I believe a more radical vision is required than the kind of programming you’d find at the Collection at RiverPark.
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Tags: State Street Advisory Committee
Your next to the last paragraph is ????????????.If you speak to local businesses on State Street, the permanent closure has been a death sentence. The workings of City Hall towards business and property owners must be fixed first, every other conversation is secondary. Paseo Nuevo is at the heart of our City and also needs immediate attention. If we don’t get our act together soon, one of the nations most beautiful streets will be unfixable. Thank you for highlighting this.
To your point…The health of the businesses on State street, and the value of enhancing State street are linked. One is not going to be effective without the other.I’d appreciate seeing equal effort and focus (or communication) about plans to make it easier for business owners to open and run successful businesses on State street, and in Santa Barbara as a whole. Especially because this planned State Street investment won’t work without the right businesses in place.
To your point, I’m very curious about the economic development aspect. How can a plan support local businesses opening on State Street in a way that is mutually beneficial to the owners? What is getting in the way and how do we ‘fix the bureaucracy,’ as stated below.As for bicycles and pedestrians, a clear definition of rules, where bikes go, when they yield, is essential. State Street has really become a wonderful bike path but there are no rules.
State street woes happened long before it became pedestrian only and its problems are echoed in towns everywhere. The demise of retail is everywhere. SB is a tourist town and lower state st has lost a chunk of business to the funk zone in the last 5 years. Personally I love the outdoor seating and keeping the street pedestrian only. I really only go to the “arts” section and public market (which seems to be thriving these days). Better restaurants and calmer atmosphere.
Retail is absouteltly not dead. It has shifted with online shopping for most basic goods, and many retailers are still adjusting to this shift, but in-person retail is still very strong.
Yes, online is booming plus places like Walmart and CVS. Amazon and the above two are biggest retailers now. Sadly Paseo Nuevo and La Cumbre are more indicative of what’s happening to modern day retail. Both should probably be turned into housing.
I think both La Cumbre and Paseo Nuevo could become great mixed-use hubs…housing, a little retail, restaurants, maybe communal work spaces. They both have the potential for vibrant “town squares”. Add a water feature and lots of nice trees – and bring back some sort of bookstore with coffee house, along with the wine bars, etc.
Your last paragraph for the win. We must fix the bureaucracy
Completely agree with your assessment. Not only does the design seem misaligned, it’s bringing the cart before the horse. I just found out Banana Republic isn’t renewing their lease and there’s a rumor about Marshall’s. There’s nowhere to shop in this town. Plus there’s no incentive for landlords to get commercial tenants in when they can write off the empty space.
Thinking landlords can write off empty space is simply wrong. They get the depreciation write off on the building whether there is a rent paying tenant in the space or not, so they’d always prefer to be receiving income. But you are right, this is definitely a cart before the horse situation and there has been zero regard to the cost, how the city would cover that cost, is it the best use of their funds, and the enormous amount of disruption to existing businesses this massive multi-year construction project would create. Imagine the 101 widening project on State St.
Banana Republic is doing well and will continue at 735 State Street.Athleta isn’t renewing their lease
We own the Balboa Building and Banana Republic loves the space and their sales numbers are back to pre pandemic levels. Athleta is the one leaving the building and not renewing their lease.
Has anyone been to Lincoln Road on South Beach Miami? They had the same challenges years ago and made it into the most wonderful experience for all age groups with restaurants, galleries, retail, bars, offices…all mixed together without having a certain theme destination for the blocks. There’s residential mixed in between which creates sense of place. I lived there and had the best time walking every night, doing chores, going to dinner or just meeting friends at a favorite spot. There are NO cars and No bikes to dodge. They have their own streets. There’s gardens in the middle with some water features mixed with restaurant tables. It’s the best place to people watch also! All the restaurant kitchens are within the storefronts with indoor dining. The “sidewalks” on each side are still there to keep the pedestrian traffic close to the store fronts. Easy way to look at menus or just window shop.Check out images of south Beach promenade. It’s like no other place. Let use a similar model to move State Street forward.
Lincoln Road was a great concept that has fallen into decline. Mostly tacky tourist restaurants and shops and sketchy behavior. I hope that SB can do better than Miami Beach.
Are you serious Bettye! Have you been there as a tourist? It’s a thriving community that yes relies on tourists…isn’t that what Santa Barbara also thrives on. It’s a model that State Street would benefit from instead of pushing people away. We need tourism.
I agree that we should take a look elsewhere to see what is working. I like Santana Row in San Jose. One night, while dining outside and looking at beautiful flowers, we watched a dog training class. Twelve dogs were learning to have nice manners while walking the Row. In Seattle an empty gallery invited 18 artists to create an indoor miniature golf course. There were lights and pulleys and imagination. Kids could participate until 9 P.M. and then wine and beer were sold. The cost was $5. On South Beach I was able to watch ballerinas practice while having a glass of wine. It is nice to both participate and watch others participate if you don’t choose to.
I agree with everything you’ve written, Erik.
I’m dismayed to see these plans as we know they will cost the local taxpayer and they won’t pay off. I have no interest in putting lipstick on the pig to the tune of millions and millions of dollars.
We need to seriously reconsider the core “civic district” as it seems to be the most troubled by far, and declining by the year. We never go there because… why would you? Paseo Nuevo needs a major rethink and should be redeveloped completely with a strong housing or hotel element. I get that everyone (myself included) is tired of even more hotels going in, but we need to get people back into these areas. The anchors of Macy’s and Nordstrom need to be torn down and reimagined, as messy as that is going to be. No one wants a giant windowless tomb in 2023. It’s difficult enough to rent the spaces on State Street which are larger than most tenants want or need these days. And this is just a start. There are a million other issues I don’t see us fixing unless we get more people in the area to start outweighing the blight that has set in. If the state is intent on forcing us to build housing and our elected officials want to do nothing about fighting it, why not put it where we need it and already have physical density (which is downtown), rather than clog other already congested areas or develop open spaces.
Want to reinvigorate State St and downtown? Start fostering startups and attract growing companies with high paying, highly skilled jobs. Building “low income” housing and pushing for more tourism is the most asinine and shortsighted path possible. Tourism is an abysmal business for anyone but the owners of the company. Most of which are out of town corporations. It attracts short term visitors on tight budgets and creates terrible jobs for low skilled workers. Low income, low skilled jobs that pay so little that they leave very little disposable income. In fact, they often push people into the very government subsidies that take more and more away from the community. How many low wage tourism workers are using EBT? Are they also the same folks qualifying for these low income housing builds? How about health care and other essential services?–How do you expect retail and restaurants to thrive in an area that is surrounded by working poor? These people do not have the disposable income to buy $200 sweaters or eat $18 burritos. They are living paycheck to paycheck, barely able to survive. That’s reality. It sucks for everyone.–The idea that State St and the downtown corridor should build more low-income housing is ridiculously stupid. It adds to the inevitable. More Govt. funding a lower tax base and a less and less attractive community.–It is insane that in an area with one of the greatest engineering schools in the world we dont foster and attract high paying jobs or entities. For every startup or tech job downtown, there are dozens of low wage, low skilled ones.–But none of this is in the works. Because the city wants their monthly dose of heroin – Transit Occupancy Tax. So they can pay for their bloated workforce, bloated salaries, bloated benefits and service our bloated debt. In SB, the government is the single largest employer. Whether directly, as in the State, County, City, or the Feds out at Vandenberg or indirectly via govt subsides and the ancillary businesses that rely on their dollars. We are in essence, a socialized economy.–Communters do not participate in the community. They dont send their kids to local schools. They dont spend their money in town. They dont pay taxes here. They spend it where they live. Ventura / Oxnard is by far the biggest recipient of our communities payroll and its workforces disposable income.–Time to build a community that can grown itself out of this mess. The only way you’re going to do that is by fostering and attracting real companies with real products and services. Not min wage jobs that suck the life and the money from our community. Not sole proprietorships such as lawyers and accountants. But real companies that build real products and support good paying, long term, full-time, jobs. Jobs that allow people the ability to afford a home, a family, to go shopping, to eat out, to spend!–None of that will happen until we cut our city’s staff, start demanding results from our elected officials and stop placating to the lowest common denominator and misguided factions. The solution is growth. Not more housing but more jobs. Private sector, high quality, high paying jobs. It is the only way forward if we want to reinvigorate our community and our once great city. </rant
I agree with you that high-paying jobs go a long way to invigorating an economy. But don’t you think many people, even in high-paying jobs, are going to continue commute if housing is so expensive? The high-paying job would have to compensate for the increased cost of living (with a reduction for commuting costs and time). That’s a steep hurdle to overcome, especially for a startup.
I love SB and I agree that the fact that most UCSB graduates leave because there are so few good jobs is a tragedy. It’s been that way for a long time-I graduated many decades ago and we left after a few years as well as most of my friends. We came back to SB in 2010 and found it remarkably unchanged. Population is around the same and most of the growth seemed to have happened in Goleta. There are more companies but it’s still a tourist town. It’s been that way for many years and not sure about what you meant about being great again. We lived in the Bay Area and raised our kids there and people do go to school there and stay because of the jobs. SB does need to try and embrace startups but I just don’t know if that’s going to ever happen.
I agree with you but it’s a catch-22 with housing and white collar jobs. Just last night on Reddit someone who was offered a $300k position with Cottage lamented there was no decent housing here. As a local who moved away for my 20s and early 30s, I would have been keen to move back sooner if there were more housing options. Low income housing is nearly impossible to build anyway. I think it’s been proven including the low income element has limited housing development as developers don’t want to do it as it simply doesn’t pencil out. My husband works for a very viable local company and prior to going remote after COVID, they absolutely had difficulty attracting talent to town because of housing issues. Professionals with good salaries didn’t want to move here and fight for ramshackle digs. It’s mostly gotten worse since then as prices have climbed though a few decent rentals have come online in the intervening years.
When we moved here 13 years ago it was a lot cheaper than the Bay Area/Silicon Valley. Covid seemed to make prices go crazy. I know people can move here and work remote with big salaries (and both my kids do work remote so it’s still a thing) but it’s definitely now much closer to Bay Area prices. It’s pretty crazy and reminds me of what happened in the Bay Area foe the last 20 years. Starter homes for 2 million.
The value of the homes will align with the ability of people to purchase them. Without a healthy “middle class” who will buy the $1.4mm Mesa house? Retired people? Immigrants living 24 to a house? Picaso / AirBnB? Dario Pini?–That $1.4mm home is the new middle class. People afford them via many methods; mostly good salaries, low interest rates and a large windfall and/or family aide. But always by struggle. The majority of people who live on the West Side, San Roque and on the Mesa are not rich. These are not 2nd homes or the California dream of a retired dentist from Minnesota. They’re the dream homes of young professionals and those fortunate enough to buy decades ago. But they are not the homes of the rich, they are the homes of locals who work very hard to make them happen.–Do you really think people will spend $2mm for a 1200sf ft house in San Roque as their California dream? Maybe, a few will, but that $2mm goes a long way in other places that are just as nice if not nicer than SB and the more we degrade what was so nice about SB, (State St for one) the less and less of those people will be arriving.–SB is not a bedroom community, there is no way you can commute to LA daily, so our population is and will remain stagnant. We must grow our way out of this via good jobs and a viable local economy.–Housing prices will never align with the market when you continue to remove more and more of the footprint from the market. Whether its conversion to “Low Income” units, and removal from the tax base (government buildings do not pay property tax), or the continued march of the “Historically Significant” crowd that deems anything older than a VW bug as “significant”. The more properties that are removed from the market, the higher the cost of the ones which are not… There are thousands of properties listed on that list. It’s crazy and it’s stupid. Nostalgia is not historical. Yet that’s what we have.–Zoning is one aspect, many argue that we need density. But professionals want single family homes. They want a yard. They want a garage. That’s not going to change. Who wants to live in a place like SB and have a storage closet and a single space in an underground garage and a tiny balcony? Part time residents, or young single professionals, that’s who. Not families. Not dogs.–It’s all about the myths of the past. Too many people who are gifted Prop 13 tax rates and 30 years of appreciation control the process. Again, it’s the local government that a huge part of the problem. Whether the nosey and bored that inject their opinion into everything, or the hugely bloated workforce – we have 2x the number of city employees of any comparably sized town in the state. The process and people who control the city are cemented in the past and for some reason, think their opinions are more important.–Make no mistake. Like many aspects in play today, this is a generational fight. The kids are not alright.–SB is not going to improve before it gets worse. I supposed we can sit back and wait for the quake. That’s one thing that is absolutely inevitable and one thing that will impact every decision and every resident. It’s also why SB is as beautiful as it is. Homogenized or not, its style is world famous and is widely considered one of the most beautiful places on earth. It didn’t come to be as a result of committees, consultants or by accident. It happened by force and through a lot of hard work and commitment to build and improve this place future generations. We must do the same if we want it to survive let alone thrive.
This version is definitely better than the last!To add my two cents: We should look to Europe to see how a cohesive and vibrant community space works. Having traveled widely, I observed the same “ingredients” in every successful promenade world-wide:
Housing – mixed affordable, middle and high income rental properties (absolutely crucial to create a pulsating vibrant community space.) We have to move away from a tourist-driven spic-and-span space to a warm and lived-in community space. If it works for us, it will work for the tourists.
Small businesses: A variety of stores that sell clothing, arts, florists, food businesses (such as bakeries, butchers, sandwich stores, paper goods, specialty etc.) These are viable because of local residents living in this neighborhood. A mix of stores on the bottom/housing on the top should be encouraged to integrate store owners into the neighborhood. This will require MUCH cheaper rents – not sure how? Empty storefronts are in no one’s interest. At least sharing open spaces should be made much easier so several parties can split the rent. A financial incentive/tax break could be offered for locals that operate a store (Mom & Pop) on State St.
Restaurants/Cafes/Ice Cafes/Wine and Beers Bars: Absolute lifeblood to every neighborhood. Seating should be movable chairs and tables and umbrellas, no permanent structures. Residents will liven up the area day and night.
Markets: Farmer’s Markets (which, by-the-way, should also include a fish market!) (I have never understood why the Saturday Farmer’s Market has not been moved to State Street), Look to the SLO Thursday Night Market to see how it’s done: Include a band stand, quick meal vendors/food trucks (long benches and tables for a community bite), maybe a bit of magic for the kids….. On other days, have an art market, maybe even an upscale flea market.
Large trees and shade structures in our now hotter climate are a must (in a nod to climate change, structures should have solar roofs), seating, temporary local art installations. String LED lights along the entire street (operated by solar roofs?)
Every Promenade has a hang-out spot, which is most cases is a large fountain. Why not put one in front of City Hall or in the paso next to Blenders?
Since it is a “Promenade” and since adults, kids and pets are encouraged, no motorized traffic for safety reasons, however, a shuttle service on Anacapa or Chapala (or both) would be great. There should also be an e-bike lane on either Street, and e-bike parking should be added to all parking lots.
And the most basic “ingredients”: Cleanliness and safety. Bed tax should pay for daily cleaning, and a foot patrol should be present while we have ongoing peddler problems.
Looking forward to ‘moments of joy’ will it be free?
State was a much stronger retail experience before the street closure. SB has incredible parks and a great amount of them so why would families go downtown to endless patios and paseos for recreation? I raised my family here and that is just not realistic. SB is a relatively small town and this thinking of endless patios and paseos is not a good use of space. The city will not be able to afford this work for one and retailers continue to leave State given the environment attracting more homeless. Open the street to vehicles and improve what were already large side walks and patios. This reimagine shutdown thing has been so damaging to commerce downtown as a whole as seen by the significant vacancy which is higher than other coastal communities in CA
State retail has been in decline for years before Covid. Not sure why people want to drive on State st again. Everyone still parks in the same places they did before the closure and if anything it increases foot traffic. Retail closing is another issue and grappling with e-commerce is what retailers have to worry about these days. Covid taught as all how to buy online.
Take a look at 8th St in Holland, MI for an example and……
…..Open the street to one way traffic downhill, diagonal parking one or both sides with 15 minute parking for business customers loading and unloading, reduce the bulky vegetation, leave the trees, reduce the restaurant outside eating areas and install uniform “parklet” railings.
Enforce no cycling, skateboards etc. on sidewalks and paint two-way cycle path on one side of State. Prohibit no panhandling rules.
Stores will revive, restaurants will bleat but their customers will be there and probably increase. With a clean, accessible State Street downtown will improve dramatically and we can stop wasting money on consulting companies.
I see improvement from the original, namely the meander in the Arts and Core district, which I support. I didn’t see the library plaza expansion as part of this, though it makes sense. I don’t see why lower state has to be so uniform, I get that they want to be fair but it’s chaotic now and this does nothing to make it less so in that zone. I still want to see more planting areas and fountains, not interactive water play which is very expensive and makes that area unusable due to necessary grading, too specific and Lord no! We don’t want an LA plaza look, this needs an Andalusian feel.
I cannot help but wonder a few things:So are we planting a full grown canopy of trees or do we have to wait for them to grow and mature?
Will someone hose this place down frequently and remove trash?
Where’s the proof there is demand for businesses to fill in all these blocks? Will State Street rent go down with all of these improvements?
What makes this safe, desirable to hang out, have your kids roll around on bouncy mountains, when someone may have lost all their tequila after rolling out of Sandbar.
Will there be police presence? Maybe not seen or authoritarian-like, but readily available and ensuring safety?
Will free public parking be extended to a long amount of time, so we can enjoy these blocks?
Will there be transportation (like electric trolleys) to and fro from the neighborhoods we live in? Or do we all have to jump on our electric bikes and scooters to get there?
Is there a city fund to actually encourage entrepreneurship and provide resources for businesses to thrive with sound business plans and training?
Is there a fund for the artists who are contributing to this? Can those artists afford rent, food, basics? Will those artists ever visit the place they create art for?
Who is this for?
Lots of naysayers here for something that is in the embryonic stages. And, why does the City get the brunt of ire when the City has little or no control over market forces, property ownership in and around State St, or changes in how people shop or commute? While having more housing along or beside the State St corridor is desirable (let’s accept the fact that Goleta has been providing Santa Barbara’s housing needs for decades) the fact is that due to current height restrictions it’s hard to get these projects to pencil-out even when the City does away with parking requirements. Whether you like it or not, Santa Barbara’s main economic engine is and always has been tourism. Thousands of visitors make their way up State Street from the beach every year, encountering the 400 block as the gateway to Old Town (Downtown). Not an inviting block! I am going to stay open-minded at this point; see how our planning staff and the City’s consultant respond to public comment and give us something most of us (not everyone will be happy with the final plan) can get behind.
I agree. I think for a lot of younger tourists the funk zone has taken over from lower state. I don’t go to either especially in the summer, but last night third window Brewery was packed with young, old and families. It’s the kind of place that people like to go to now-casual, great food and interesting beer and wine selections.
What do they mean by amenities in the Old Town section? A giant area of public restrooms?Who’s going to maintain that? Will it be for visitors, drunken college students after a nightof over-imbibing, the unhoused?
Funny, at first, I thought those rocks in the picture were tents and the guy on the right wearing a cap was a homeless guy going inside!Besides that, looking over all the info and the comments, it really seems like humans have lost their way. It all seems so contrived and awkward in trying to figure out a tiny place like State Street. Nothing seems organic and the aim seems to be control. Street performers must perform on this elevated stage. Moments of joy and play will happen in this designated space. “Old Town” seems like a forced cliche. Why not just call it what it is, “Lower State”? So that means that the 400 block with the sex shop, tattoo shop, 99 cent store, cigar shop and various restaurants etc. is the entrance to Old Town? Then, Old Town stops where all the old buildings begin and that’s called the Civic District? I don’t get it. Perhaps, the agency hired to do the design for State Street are suggesting their preconceived ideas? That makes sense because they will have to show they earned their money.Something in my soul tells me these plans are overly idealistic and shallow. What would the ancient Greeks and Romans suggest?Lucky for me, I have lived and traveled to so many places such as Jerusalem, Paris, Rome, Venice, Hong Kong and Japan etc. In Barcelona, I got to experience Las Ramblas which is the most amazing and famous pedestrian street in the world. I doubt if the street performers there are forced to go to designated blocks to perform. It seems like they just pick a place and draw a crowd. Are those performers rich or poor? Who cares? Artists on the street add to the spontaneous vibrancy but I do believe they have a license and set up in an specific area. Europe is full of artists and vibrant energy but in Santa Barbara freely expressed art seems to be squelched by bureaucratic authority that kills the spirit of it.On top of everything, we have the problems facing society at every turn including breakdown and collapse. Haven’t you noticed? I wonder how the play zones will help? Will there be any intellectually stimulating areas? Oh well.Over 25 years ago, I suggested in a public meeting with the Mayor that Santa Barbara install a Monorail system. It was totally feasible with the technology literally off the shelf. If only someone had listened. That would have put Santa Barbara even further on the world map. A monorail would have been playful and fun. If only…is it too late?OK! Back to State Street dreaming. Please stand in this spot and feel a moment of joy. Feeling is the secret.
???? agree! Very well stated. Santa Barbara is utterly depressing for lack of intellectual stimulation, community living, originality and creativity, all the good stuff was brought about in the past , the present is mute ( save the rare exceptions) – cheers from Antigua, Guatemala. :)
???? agree! Very well stated. Santa Barbara is utterly depressing for lack of intellectual stimulation, community living, originality and creativity, all the good stuff was brought about in the past , the present is mute ( save the rare exceptions) – cheers from Antigua, Guatemala. :)
It seems that the committee wants to turn State Street into a combination of Disneyland and Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. As you point out, if the businesses lining State Street can’t thrive, there’s no point to creating a circus in the middle. So wrong headed. Which is how it always seems to go in Santa Barbara. Tired of being disgusted by this city’s deeply dysfunctional government at all levels.
How about a bit more joy, passion, creativity, fervor, appreciation and zest for life in our community? That would organically reflect in the construct of, and inject cheerful dynamics to our public spaces while enhancing our community’s quality of life and its economic welfare. For this to happen one may need to lubricate city administration and reform it’s dated ideas and rusty medieval bureaucratic gridlocks.Rarely seen such poor job in what should be an example of urban development, historical and environmental conservation and an example to inspire.In America one lives to work and Europeans work to live, most walk their urban landscape, in America one drives everywhere and that sole cultural difference is significant on how urban development and public landscapes are formed. That said the charm of European «flâneur» street life model is not so compatible with the traditional outgoing sporty southern California way of life – as fashionable as it appears, let’s face it, it’s not really the US way of « hanging out ». that said, creating innovative home grown original ( non Dysney or corny) cultural solutions to paste onto the State Street conundrum may bring our community a ray of sunshine and inspire some intellectual excitement. For the time being the option of strolling State Street for pure pleasure is quite disappointing to say the least – It just doesn’t make the cut – the sorrow of homelessness, the often pungent smell of booze and urine, a feel of semi abandonment, a grubby, poorly maintained landscape, it’s unattractive temporary outdoor dining solutions aka parklets, all depressing and unstitched.Not a great outcome for a property + tax rich SB county that is seeking more revenue as in its ongoing Cannabis push fiasco (enough said) – retire or be inspired!
Thank you universe for the stunning setting and coastline you bestow upon us, wishing we could honor you with the spoils of human talent, inspiration and the dignity you deserve. No offense intended in my forthrightness, but let’s face it we could definitely do much better! So let’s! Cheers all!
Boulder is an example of a successful main pedestrian set up. On a recent visit there, I meet a former SB State Street shop owner (t-shirt, nice casual wear and home wear ) who mentioned the reason she moved to Boulder was that locals keep their shops alive outside the tourist season, much like the Montecito residents patronize their shops. She sadly faulted the SB residents for not patronizing enough their local stores.
The pedestrian setup in Boulder is only two blocks long while ours is 11. Boulder also has about a 25% larger population. We simply don’t have enough residents and tourists to sustain an 11 block pedestrian promenade.
I don’t recall there being any parking on State Street when it was open (am I wrong?) so I don’t understand the push to have it opened up again? The only convenience was that you could drop someone off in front of a store/restaurant but you still had to look for parking on the side streets or parking garages (as we do now).Currently, husband and I either park and walk or ride our bikes downtown weekly and we love it! So many people out and about, enjoying the outdoor dining and shopping.Yes, it does need to be “more cohesive with a less ragtag look” but for now, we will continue to support downtown in it’s current condition :)