New Bike Lanes Approved for Middle of Santa Barbara’s State Street

After much hand-wringing over City Hall’s tight cash finances and whether State Street reflects a widespread state of self-inflicted urban decay, the Santa Barbara City Council voted 5-2 to spend $55,000 to paint a runway bikeable in the middle of eight blocks. State Road.

By placing the two lanes — each about five feet wide — in the middle of the 500 to 1200 blocks of State Street, the council’s hope is that pedestrians will no longer feel so threatened by the prospect — and, at the occasions, reality. — of fast cyclists in general and e-bike cyclists in particular. Currently, there is no designated bike lane on the road, so cyclists slalom and weave in and out of the path of oncoming pedestrians.

The bike lanes, it was stressed, will not be painted strong green that generates the same aesthetic hostility which hailed an earlier effort to direct bike traffic on the city’s newly pedestrianized downtown. The white bike lanes will run down the center of the road with a yellow stripe separating the lanes according to the directional flow.

While $55,000 may not sound like much, the city’s coffers are tight enough that city planners are suggesting dipping into funds that would otherwise go to repairing the exceptionally run-down streetscape of the 1200 block of Nopal Street. Nopal Street residents would have to wait an additional year for road repairs that everyone agreed were badly needed.

Council member Eric Friedman suggested dipping into the city’s reserves to cover the cost of the bike-lane strip, and when he did not return, he voted against the proposal, which will eat into the general fund.

Mayor Randy Rowse noted with exasperation that the City had already paid to strip partial bike lanes – with the loud and offensive green – and then paid to have those designated roads sandblasted. The idea of ​​painting another bike lane Rowse greeted with the weary disbelief of someone who knew he didn’t have the votes.

If and when City Hall signs a contract with a micro-mobility shuttle — similar to the electric golf carts seen at airports — it looks like they’ll be sharing the bike lane space. Council members heard how the use of micro-mobility shuttles – coupled with a revival of MTD’s waterfront shuttle service – could help revitalize the city centre. All those shuttles, however, cost about $1 million.

Likewise, the councilors affirmed their commitment allowing northbound traffic in the 1200 block of State Street so that patrons of the Granada Theater – especially those with mobility challenges – can be dropped off in front of the theatre. One issue was whether a steel diamond ramp would be sufficient or whether a new curb cut would be necessary. All of these were short-term fixes that the council is now considering to address what Mayor Rowse described as “the county fair effect” of the pedestrian plaza while the State of the Road Advisory Committee struggles to roll out a vision for the long-term future that packs a ‘wow’ punch powerful enough to attract visitors and residents.

Leave a Comment