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URBAN HIKE

Short & Sweet - Some of SB's Shortest Streets
updated: Jan 21, 2012, 9:30 AM

By the Urban Hikers, Peter Hartmann & Stacey Wright

This week we introduce you to part of our collection of the shortest streets in Santa Barbara. Unless you live, work, or deliver mail on one of these streets, it's likely that you rarely (if ever!) travel these little gems. Some are dead ends, and others connect to much busier streets. Many of them are avenues, some are drives, others are roads or streets, and then there are the lanes and ways. We chose the headline photo for our story because we believe it just may be the character for "short street"...but then again, maybe not. It is, however, located on one of the short streets in this story, and we're not telling which one. If you want to see it, you've got to go out and find it for yourself.

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We'll start by telling you about all of the avenues. It seems ironic that the highest percentage of short streets in town are avenues, because for us an avenue conjures up a broad dignified roadway...but hey, at least we didn't find a "shortie" that's a boulevard.

We found two one-block avenues that backed up into each other and thought that was pretty special. They are Alberta Ave. and Cook Ave. This is what they look like where they meet.

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This is what the 2-blocks look like going in each direction.

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For each of the "shorties" we share with you here, we'll show you a photo of the street sign, a view of the entire street, and an image of one interesting thing we found along that street. Oddly, several of our "shorties" are home to a "little or loud" feature. The only one we've included in a past story is the little bungalow court, but that isn't on an avenue, so more on that when we get to the streets...

Alberta Avenue.

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Cook Avenue.

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This is Myrtle Avenue. As you can see, it dead ends at the railroad tracks, and on the day we were out taking photos of Myrtle, the railroad tie machine that an Edhat subscriber told us about on Monday (1/16/12) had made its way to the tracks at the end of the road.

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La Paz is an avenue, but it's also a "public alley". It's also quintessentially short & sweet.

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And then there's Fletcher Avenue, childhood home of one of the Urban Hikers in the very early 1960's. Today Fletcher consists of medical offices, apartments, and a few of the original single family homes. We were happy to see this nostalgic old place still serving as home to someone.

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The last of our featured avenues is Western Ave. Neither of us ever lived in this little home, but we think it's pretty darn sweet anyway.

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Next are the drives...we have three of them to tell you about. We'll begin with Balboa Drive. As you might have guessed, it's on the Mesa. We think the motor home says it all about living on the Mesa -- life's a beach.

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We believe Gravilla Drive is the shortest of our short streets. It's adjacent to McKinley School, and until we took our official hike of the neighborhood, we didn't realize it even had a name.

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Park Way Drive is a short street with the distinction of being a way, a drive and a lane. It's home to the Big Ugly, and is one of those streets best hiked. As you can see, the residents don't welcome visiting motor vehicles.

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Our two roads are Wilson and Rey. If you participated in March Edness last year you were probably stumped by the little dolphin fountain on Wilson Street.

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And we also recall the smoke stack was in last year's March Edness, but we figure most people got that one. What you might not have known until today is that it's located on a short little street called Rey Road.

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We have but two short streets to tell you about. The first one, Cottage Grove Street may be one you've passed by dozens of times without even noticing it. As you exit the Northbound 101 at Bath Street, just as you come off the ramp, quaint little Cottage Grove Street sits at your right shoulder. We wonder how it got its sweet little name.

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Montgomery Street is home to the most wonderful little bungalow court. It's definitely worth a hike if you've never been on this Upper East little street.

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Our only lane "shortie," Shasta Lane is also in the very peaceful Upper East and is home to a "loud" little garage. We like it.

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And last, but certainly not least, we bring you one little way - Tinker Way. What a darling name for a darling little street. And honestly, isn't this the most delightful little house??

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As always we encourage you to go out and explore the city, meet your neighbors, keep your eyes, ears and minds open to all that you encounter. Above all, expect the unexpected.

 

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