April 20, 2007 - Cones of Silence
On lower State Street, in downtown Santa Barbara, orange is the new green - recently the City cut down a bunch of healthy trees and replaced them with traffic cones. But, that's not the only place where the cones (and their cousins the tubes) are making a daily appearance. Everywhere you look, all over town - and everywhere in between, orange beacons warn against the hazards of construction, repair, and change.
On Chapala Street the construction never ends - the Andalucia Hotel coned up the road for well over a year. Today,
two mixed-use developments have taken over that task. This week, on the block of Chapala between Figueroa Street and Anapamu, cones are being put up daily to block three of the four one-way lanes on the road, even though there's absolutely no construction activity to be seen except a small piece of equipment parked by the side of the road.
Yesterday, the parking attendant at the City lot that feeds into that block was working hard to keep exiting cars out of harm's way while they waited for openings in the single-file promenade of needlessly displaced cars. When the dedicated staff of edhat.com asked him about the lane closure, he told us that he hadn't seen anyone working there all day.
"Taxpayer dollars at work!" he said.
Speaking about taxpayer dollars. Yesterday, a member of the dedicated staff experienced first-hand, a little slow service on behalf of the Santa Barbara City Police Department.
When we were driving in the green car down Anacapa Street, headed to the bottom of Chapala for our cone count, we saw a white car go right through a red light at Victoria, and smash into a white 4Runner that was part of the free-flowing traffic going down Anacapa. The car that ran the red light lost its front bumper and a lot of other important parts. The 4Runner was only moderately banged.
Having seen the whole thing, the dedicated staff member thought that he should wait around and give his eyewitness testimony to the Police. Every one on the scene figured that the Police would be there quickly - the station being only three block away (and all). After a couple of minutes of no-show by the police, the dedicated staff member thought that he'd better take charge to - at least - remove all the debris from the intersection that was being crunched around by the passing cars. Edhat knows firsthand that debris (like wrenches and stuff) can pop tires.
To make a long story (and a long wait) short, it took 29 minutes for the police to arrive - two very young officers showed-up in separate cars. By then, all of the other witnesses except our staff member had left. The officers, who didn't seem concerned -- or even acknowledge -- that they were tardy, said when pressed, that it was a busy morning, they were short staffed, and they take calls in order of importance.
The question we didn't dare ask was whether or not they were supervising the cone set up on Chapala.
In all there were 73 cones on, or beside, the road on Chapala between THE 101 and Alamar. The winner of the Daily Edhat t-shirt is Kritter, who guessed 72 cones. Shirts can be picked up at Highlights Salon. It's located on Alamar at the end of Chapala. To get there, just follow the cones!