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URBAN HIKE

Santa Barbara Urban Hike
updated: Jan 08, 2011, 10:15 AM

By Stacey Wright and Peter Hartmann

Part One: Expect the Unexpected

Santa Barbara is a notoriously gorgeous place, and more than ever we think it's worthy of a close and careful look.

We are two "fifty-something" year olds who are lifetime residents of Santa Barbara. Together, we have decided to walk each and every street within the City limits of Santa Barbara just for the fun of it. Peter is a dentist, and Stacey is a long-time County employee who helps the elderly without family to look after them. Today we are a little more than half way through our adventure. According to Public Works, there are 256 "centerline miles" of streets within the City of Santa Barbara. For those wondering if we have included Coast Village and the Airport, the answer is, "Of course!" We have not undertaken this task lightly. With the thoroughness of a window washer, the inquisitiveness of a 5-year old, and the dedication of an Edhat staffer, we have systematically ticked off the streets and neighborhoods of this exceptional town.

How did two busy professional people with limited time and energy come to do this quest?

We both arrived in Santa Barbara as preschoolers. Each of us had teenage jobs as delivery people at a local drugstore; Peter at El Camino Pharmacy on Coast Village Road, and Stacey at La Cumbre Drug. One day, it occurred to us that even though, collectively, we had been on nearly every street in Santa Barbara, there were streets and even entire neighborhoods in which neither of us had ever ventured.

And so, in November 2009, we set out on a walk from downtown Santa Barbara, up and over the Micheltorena overpass and into the Westside. Thus began the first adventure in a wonderful journey of exploration of our hometown.

In the process of our undertaking to walk every public street, we have instituted a few rules … "The Rules" are: 1. We must walk together on all official walks, 2. We walk in the daylight hours only - we are there to explore, after all, 3. We may use an old fashioned map to guide us - no high-falutin' technology involved, 4. We are not permitted to use cell phones to talk or text during our walks, 5. We take at least one "photo of the day" for every walk made, 6. We wear our sunscreen.

Also, we don't have any special equipment or walking gear, other than occasional umbrellas. Because Peter wore his Topsiders on the first walk, he has committed to stick with this footwear until the final street is walked (he is now on his second pair of shoes). Stacey prefers sneakers or flip-flops, depending on the weather and the terrain.

Little did we know when first we dreamed up this idea, that we would be committed to this project for more than a year. We also failed to realize the sometimes incredibly complicated logistics of walking every street - preferably without having to backtrack. As it turns out, because of unavoidable backtracking, when all is said and done we will have walked considerably more that the 256 "centerline miles" of the City Limits. The good new is that our weight and cholesterol are both down, and our social consciousness is up, with minimal expense or effort. But most notably, we never could have dreamed how thrilling it would be to find unexpected treasures in every neighborhood in Santa Barbara.

Our journey is well underway and we have much to share with you. We plan on posting regular updates of our travels along the streets of Santa Barbara, and will include in each post photos of the wonderful things we encounter along the way. It is our hope that in reading our posts we peak your interests in the neighborhoods that heretofore may be unfamiliar to you, and that you, like us, undertake to get a closer look at them.

Stay tuned for our next installment. We will talk about our New Years Eve Wrap Up as well as our recent walk in the Punta Gorda/Salinas neighborhood. We think you will be quite surprised by our impressions and experience of these walks...

Walking feet.

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Our working map.

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Hollister and Fifth isn't either street.

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Goleta, but still the city.

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Rey, the olny road we never knew.

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Party in progress.

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A little bit of history.

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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 134597 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 10:26 AM

This is 100% awesome.

 

 COMMENT 134600 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 10:34 AM

Haha that's funny. Those are all my friends and I was at that party!! :) Cool :)

 

 MIELEMAI agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 10:34 AM

I agree, what a great project. I have lived downtown for a considerable amount of time, and it never ceases to amaze me how many new, wonderful things I see as I walk on streets I have walked on for years. I can't wait to read up more on the walking adventure, and would love to know where the Hollister and 5th marker and the Ambassador tile stairs are located!! So cool!

 

 COMMENT 134605 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 10:40 AM

Excellent! I remember my dad taking me for cokes at the old El Camino Pharmacy after a day at butterfly. Elmer made cokes the old-fashioned way.

 

 EDHAT ONLINE agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 10:41 AM

Here is an archived Edhat article about Hollister & 4th ... which is a block away from Hollister and 5th.

 

 COMMENT 134612 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 11:14 AM

Very Cool

 

 COMMENT 134613P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 11:15 AM

And here is another archived article about Santa Barbara street names.

 

 COMMENT 134617 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 11:29 AM

This is awesome, are you allowed to drive up to areas and then walk them, or only start walking from your house? It looks like in very NW corner of your map you have walked the neighborhoods around Bishop Diego HS, but while you were over there you neglected the tiny cull-de-sac of "Otono," which is officially in the City.

 

 COMMENT 134619 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 11:34 AM

When we had our first pair of dogs we would drive to different parts of the city, as well as Goleta and Montecito. We would wake 2-4 miles and highlight the route on our map. Used a pedometer too. Good times.

 

 COMMENT 134620 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 11:34 AM

Keep posting photos of interesting stuff that can be seen, from the public roadways of course!

 

 COMMENT 134625P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 11:42 AM

Great! I look forward to reading about your travels. It gives me impetus to do similarly, as a way to explore and to get in shape.

 

 COMMENT 134633 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 12:13 PM

everybody should do this. before long this town will be full of locals walking all over. that would be cool, meet new people, see new neighbourhoods.

i'm getting the missus on this....be healthy, be outside, can't see a downside...

thanks for the inspiration op.

 

 COMMENT 134638P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 12:29 PM

Please post your route so everyone can join
Great exercise with a goal

 

 COMMENT 134639 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 12:35 PM

This is fantastic! Thanks for sharing with us on EdHat.

 

 KDEF agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 02:27 PM

The history of the streets of Santa Barbra is of great interest. I, as I am sure many Edhat readers, commend your efforts and look forward to further Edhat postings or to a book.

Have you been in contact with Neal Graffy? He has been studying the history of Santa Barbara street names for years. I am sure you know his booklet "Street Names of Santa Barbara". Another source is a booklet distributed by the County Bank and Trust in the 1940's. The Gledhill Library at the Historical Museum has a copy. City Directories are also useful especially as to street name changes.

 

 COMMENT 134658 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 02:58 PM

Kudos, great adventure. When I first moved to Santa Barbara in 1990, I lived in San Roque and worked at City Hall. My friend Martha and I walked many times to work and also to the events at Oak Park etc. It was so interesting to learn about the City that way. We also did many walks at lunch to the parks and along the beaches and harbor. If we had not done that I don't think I would have loved the area as much as I do now.

 

 COMMENT 134663 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 03:56 PM

I am a writer and publisher, and am always looking for interesting ideas to write about and potentially publish (as articles or books). If these women would be interested in talking to me, please post a comment saying so, and can send the edhat webmaster contact information for you. I will keep an eye on posts here.

 

 COMMENT 134665 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 04:08 PM

Quinto/Hollister = Fifth Street and the old cross town throughway which is now De La Vina, before State Street opened up and used to be a cul de sac marking the end of the city end at Constance.

 

 COMMENT 134667 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 04:16 PM

663, you are a writer and publisher? Stacey and Peter are women?

 

 COMMENT 134668P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 04:19 PM

663 "writer-publisher...if you read the story carefully you'll know that is is a man and woman doing the walking. Not "these women." Glad you don't proof read for me!

 

 SMARTYPANTS agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 04:23 PM

I've been "yard-saleing" for years in town and feel like I've seen at least 50 percent of our lovely berg. However, my carbon footprint pleads guilty due to the driving aspect. Bravo to the brave soles (souls) who are taking on this marvelous challenge!

 

 COMMENT 134675P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 04:52 PM

I think that Stacey and Peter are already being published on Edhat. I think.

 

 PATRICK agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 05:42 PM

I agree with Lemonjelly - 100% awesome.

 

 COMMENT 134683P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 05:53 PM

That means my vote of 100%, makes this 300% awesome. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us! What were your thoughts of the Primavera/Verano/Rosario/Consuelo neighborhood? ;-)

 

 COMMENT 134689 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 06:20 PM

Walking precincts for local elections gets you out and about with both delights and disgust at some of the yards. Some places on the Mesa look like little Appalachia with junk cars, weeds and trash. I was shocked because this is not known as a bad part of town. Seems rental properties are the biggest blight and probably out of town landlords. But one also sees remarkable do-overs for formerly dreary track homes in this area too. It is a world of its own up on the Mesa.

 

 COMMENT 134694P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 06:39 PM

What a wonderful idea! Another great resource for researching streets is the Santa Barbara City Fire Dept.(they have very detailed maps in all aparatus) Your very cool "project" brings back fun and painful memories. As a rookie FF 25 years ago, we were required to learn every street in Santa Barbara by definition and location...at that time well over 700....whew, good luck, and keep on walkin'!

 

 COMMENT 134697 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 07:06 PM

This is such a cool idea. I was just thinking the other week that, despite having grown up here and lived most of my adult life here, too....there are still areas I've not been in.

This is inspiring to get out there and walk more streets. Er, you know what I mean.

 

 COMMENT 134708P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-08 07:38 PM

Have you been to Hubba Hubba Lane yet?...don't laugh, it's there, along with Curley Ave. and my favorite street with the impossibly long name, Calle Boca Del Canon and the almost non-street, Via Senda... what fun!

 

 COMMENT 134771 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-09 10:58 AM

Bravo! Wonderful and ambitious - I'm so glad you're sharing with us!

 

 COMMENT 134923 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-09 06:54 PM

From a pedestrian's point of view, let us know how you think the bulbouts work.

 

 COMMENT 135320 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-01-11 07:07 AM

WOW, that is so very cool and ambitious. What a great prospective from the usual driving mentality. Look forward to more posts and photos. Thanks for sharing!

 

42% of comments on this page were made by Edhat Community Members.

 

*** One comment was removed from this thread by the Edhat Board Nanny for violating Edhat Comments Board policy. Click Here to see it.

 

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