Downtown State Street Closes to Vehicles for Outdoor Dining

Downtown State Street Closes to Vehicles for Outdoor Dining title=
Downtown State Street Closes to Vehicles for Outdoor Dining
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By edhat staff

The Santa Barbara City Council voted to close State Street to vehicles from Haley to Sola to allow restaurants to expand outdoor seating.

Restaurants and cafes are allowed to expand their seating into sidewalks, public and private parking spaces as “creating parklets,” and some sections of roadway citywide as an emergency measure to give more space to conduct business using social distancing practices.

On Monday, Governor Newsom eased reopening requirements and several days later Santa Barbara was approved to move into Phase 2B which allows retail and dine-in restaurants to open again, with restrictions.

Late Thursday the City of Santa Barbara has made the decision to close State Street, from Sola Street to Haley, to vehicular traffic and open the roadway to give businesses and their customers more space to socially distance over Memorial Day weekend, effective Friday afternoon.

“Our City Council was inspired by the recommendation of the City’s business advisors. They know their clientele and they understand that Santa Barbaran’s value creativity. We all want to re-connect with our local businesses and support their endeavor," said Mayor Cathy Murillo.

New social distancing requirements will result in restaurants having to reduce their indoor seating capacity. The addition of outdoor dining hopes to provide more dining space while adhering to the new social distancing requirements.

The closed section of State Street will additionally serve as a pedestrian promenade. Pedestrians are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings within the pedestrian plaza, which will be open daily from 7 A.M. to 10 P.M. 

"This is an idea whose time has come. Locals have talked about the transition of State Street to a pedestrian promenade for decades. We can open businesses in a way that is safe and inviting while having open streets for pedestrians. These temporary measures give us a chance to really vision what the future of Downtown could be," said councilmember Kristen Sneddon.

There's potential this may stay in effect for some weeks to come as a temporary emergency measure to due COVID-19. Cross streets will remain open to vehicular traffic.

All businesses will be required to follow guidelines in the newly released RISE Guide created by the county including the completion of the Business Attestation Form and Industry Checklist.

The City of Santa Barbara is preparing guidelines for establishing outdoor dining and alcoholic beverage regulation issues.

Some of the City requirements in place for expanded outdoor include: tables and seating be placed 6 feet apart; the dining area has a defined boundary above-grade (rope, fence) that is removable if there will be alcohol service; that the width of the outdoor dining area is no larger than the storefront of the business; 6 feet of passable sidewalk area to be maintained at all times; a clear pedestrian and emergency pathway from the centerline of the street (a total of 14 feet in width);  and that the expanded outdoor dining area be adjacent to the business as much as feasible.

An Emergency Ordinance will be presented at a Special City Council meeting on May 27th to address the expansion of outdoor dining into other areas in the City as well as an expansion into public parking and private property.

Businesses are encouraged to contact the city with questions at [email protected] or 805-560-7520.

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ChemicalSuperFreak May 22, 2020 09:09 PM
Downtown State Street Closes to Vehicles for Outdoor Dining

Wonder how they'll manage to corral the homeless and urban travelers off that stretch of State Street. It's practically been their home for as long as I care to remember. They'd need to have some serious enforcement, and I'm wondering if the spineless City Council really has the stomach for that, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. And if they manage to pull that off, and I hope they do and it stays that way, then we need to ask them why it took a pandemic to finally clean the trash off our streets.

ChemicalSuperFreak May 23, 2020 02:54 PM
Downtown State Street Closes to Vehicles for Outdoor Dining

RHS: Since were tossing out our favorite fascist slogans from WWII, here's mine: "Latina olim palus" --- Latin translation: "Latina, once a swamp". This was the motto used by Mussolini, Il Duce, my personal favorite dictator. It's in reference to the Pontine Marches that since pre-history were a plague to the Lazio region of Italy, as they were a source of malaria. From Julius Caesar to Pope Sixtus V, many great Italian visionaries failed to "drain the swamp". True, Mussolini took the homeless off the streets of Rome and drove them to the region to help undertake one of the most impressive feats of engineering the world has seen. Once the swamps were drained, they built cities, such as Littoria (now called Latina), with beautiful squares and homes for the once homeless. In provinces such as Latina, the no-longer-homeless prospered in agriculture by growing wheat and wine in a formerly inhospitable land. People need a purpose, and Mussolini understood that. When people work together they're strong and unbreakable, like a fascia of muscle or wheat (in this case the symbol of Italian fascism). So RHS, Mussolini tied and succeeded and it worked out well for the people of Latina (the formerly homeless of Rome), which was once a swamp and now the second largest city in the region, after Rome.

Gordo May 23, 2020 09:52 AM
Downtown State Street Closes to Vehicles for Outdoor Dining

Santa Barbara Police just laid off 18 employees. This indicates that they have no stomach to enforce loitering or drug laws at this time. I guess that they figure that we don't already have enough crime.

a-1591052153 May 23, 2020 09:52 AM
Downtown State Street Closes to Vehicles for Outdoor Dining

Santa Barbara Police just laid off 18 employees. This indicates that they have no stomach to enforce loitering or drug laws at this time. I guess that they figure that we don't already have enough crime.

Luvaduck May 23, 2020 09:28 AM
Downtown State Street Closes to Vehicles for Outdoor Dining

"What would you think would show a spine?" How about arrests housed in military-style barracks as a daily work crew to clean up public spaces including public restrooms to be built in public parks w/hourly miantenance to service them and more elaborate custodial halls for the those who are not sane? That would separate out the lazy, crazy and career hobos. Hobos who hate confinement and the lazy would move on. The crazy would have the support they so desperately need. That would leave "resident" drunks & addicts and those who are on the streets for economic reasons. The latter can be dealt with fairly well as a group and the money would be well-spent. The drunks and addicts? No idea; you can't shoot them or cure them.

ChemicalSuperFreak May 22, 2020 10:52 PM
Downtown State Street Closes to Vehicles for Outdoor Dining

Hi PIT, I think by spineless I was inferring that the actions the City Council is now taking to open State Street to outside dining, which in order to succeed must come with strict no-loitering enforcement, is something they could have done at any point in the past several decades but were too afraid to. You've been here sometime, right? You know all those breezeways between buildings, such as the one where the news stand used to be or next to one of the Metro theaters? Remember when those used to have raised planters with trees and flowering bushes that the transients use to sit on and lean their backpacks against. Rather than telling the transients to move along, they took the passive aggressive tactic (spineless in my opinion) of tearing out the planters, figuring if they were gone the transients find some other place to hang out. How'd that work out? As far as "constitutional rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness", I'm all for that no matter what your circumstances. However, many of those transients hog up benches that maybe someone else would like to sit on, let their dogs crap all over the sidewalks, and often smoke cigarettes within the prohibited distance from businesses, bus stops, etc. At least one of those is illegal and all of them deprive others from their pursuit of happiness. This is one of the reasons I avoid going downtown. Anyway, I enjoy your posts as well.

PitMix May 22, 2020 10:26 PM
Downtown State Street Closes to Vehicles for Outdoor Dining

CSF, I really enjoyed your scientific postings on the virus; your postings on the "spineless" city council, not so much. We can't even force people to follow public health directives like wearing a mask, so what makes you think we can get rid of transients and travelers that are exercising their constitutional rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness as they see fit? If they are serious about helping businesses, there will be a big police presence in this zone to minimize problems. But I don't know if SB has the stomach to harass the transients enough to make them move along to another town. And so far they are not jailing anyone for anything less than a serious felony so the punishment option is not available. What would you think would show a spine?

PitMix May 22, 2020 09:00 PM
Downtown State Street Closes to Vehicles for Outdoor Dining

Some of my most enjoyable times on State Street have been when it has been closed for a parade or the State Street Mile. I'm going to start going downtown to enjoy it some more. Been waiting for this since I got here in 1998. Woohoo!!

a-1591052153 May 22, 2020 07:48 PM
Downtown State Street Closes to Vehicles for Outdoor Dining

Good luck if you're driving a car and want to cross over state street. All the lights are blinking red and pedestrians won't stop crossing so cars can..... Traffic nightmare.. Why couldn't they just leave the traffic lights working so traffic can cross without long delays......

biguglystick May 23, 2020 11:57 AM
Downtown State Street Closes to Vehicles for Outdoor Dining

This is another BIG reason that I think that Cabrillo Ave would be the better choice for a pedestrian walk area. The one-way streets that surround State. St. were already confusing to tourists. I cannot count how many times I've seen out-of-towners starting up the wrong way on a one-way street, locals annoyed and honking at them. Closing State St. will confound this and make it worse, didn't anyone think of THAT?

PitMix May 22, 2020 08:59 PM
Downtown State Street Closes to Vehicles for Outdoor Dining

How do they do this in other cities that close their main promenade for pedestrians and business? The new business chief came from a City that did this so I bet they are doing the same thing as that City. And you know what? The world did not end and cars were able to get through. If you are really worried about it, cross above the closure and go down Anapamu. It's amazing what people choose to focus on.

Nature Boy May 22, 2020 08:54 PM
Downtown State Street Closes to Vehicles for Outdoor Dining

I agree — the flashing reds are awkward. At farmer’s market they just keep the light sequence BUT they have a crossing guard at each intersection. I think if cars were zipping thru at 30mph while people are strolling a 12-block pedestrian zone, talking & looking around & getting lost in this suddenly new way of things... people would get flattened. Having all cars stop at least gives pedestrians a sporting chance. And no, I’m not blaming car drivers and relieving walkers of all responsibility to pay attention. I’m just like, let the strollers stroll a bit more carelessly for a few months out of their lives. Cars are great —i drive one too — but eh, we can wait ten more seconds while enjoying the view of people enjoying life.

Nature Boy May 22, 2020 07:31 PM
Downtown State Street Closes to Vehicles for Outdoor Dining

Horrible headline!! “State Street Closes!” “City Council voted to close State Street!” STATE STREET IS OPEN!! It just opened for the first time in decades. It’s only cars that it’s closed to. I was down there tonight and it looked & felt beautifully OPEN. People strolling in the warm evening air. Smiling at each other. Supporting local businesses. Check it out this weekend!!!

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