Human Traffic

Human Traffic title=
Human Traffic
39 Comments
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By John Wiley

We strolled down "Altered" State Street on this foggy feeling Friday, with far less activity than we've seen on KEYT there since the recent traffic closure. Even so we saw happy patrons with sidewalk seating, fresh chalk art, and a few people strolling like us. Nearly all of us wore masks when less than 20' apart.

It was strange and wonderful to walk down the middle! Occasional cyclists and various personal electrical wheeled vehicles zigged and zagged close past us, leading to musings about physical distancing and pedestrian safety. About then we chanced upon this power huddle of city officials and overheard some thoughtful dialog about how emergency vehicles would best integrate with this new mode of downtown. One topic was how a SBFD ladder truck would navigate among the moving and seated people where cars used to reign.

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REX OF SB May 30, 2020 05:28 PM
Human Traffic

Once the novelty of this has worn off, State Street will revert to the ghost town it has become famous for. The difference is that cars can no longer drive down the street to see anything of interests. The tourists are gonna love that… I'm glad that the City is going to do nothing on the potential permanent closure until September. This is a terrible, TERRIBLE idea, and hopefully the rah-rah enthusiasm for this abortion will have completely petered out by then.

Bird May 30, 2020 09:15 PM
Human Traffic

If this is such a "terrible, terrible idea", what's yours? I think it is an excellent idea but it's bare bones; there needs more to it. There needs to be small businesses (and large) to attract people, offering goods but also personal service. --- And that depends a lot, near totally on the property owners wanting to attract businesses and making them affordable. If they sit back preferring to demand the rent they believe they're owed, then, indeed, it won't work and we'll return to a vehicle-devoted street, abutted by buildings that have been turned into high end rentals and condos, with a lot of bars and restaurants to provide low income jobs for those who live on the west and east sides of town, catering to the wealthy. And Santa Barbara will lose not only its tourist business, except for those wanting to hang out at the beach, but its soul.

REX OF SB May 30, 2020 10:35 PM
Human Traffic

I absolutely cannot believe that the proponents of this terrible idea are overlooking one major fact. This fact is so important that I’m going to spell it out in capital letters: STATE STREET IS UNIQUE IN THAT IT’S THE ONLY MAIN STREET IN TOWN!!! Unlike most cities, there are NO alternative shopping streets. People like to drive up and down State Street to see what’s there. Without this ability, it’s a completely unknown factor. Especially for out-of-town visitors. I’m not even going to go into detail about how the “alternate” driving streets (Anacapa and Chapala) are going to be forever f****d up as a result of this nonsense. That’s a foregone. In the very few days that this abortion has been in place, it’s skidded off the chart. STOP IT NOW. Of all the dumb ideas that have been proposed over the years, this is by far the dumbest. I actually like the idea of residential housing on the second floors of existing businesses. That makes complete sense . Just revert State Street to WHAT IT WAS INTENDED, a street for motor vehicles.

a-1590906479 May 30, 2020 11:27 PM
Human Traffic

Rex, There are those of us who have suggested closing State St. for decades. Look at Florence, Lucca, and many other European cities. State St. has been dying for years, even before the Funk Zone took over. Look at towns with a vibrant downtown. Do they have a 15 block long downtown? No, it’s about six blocks square. In today’s world of internet shopping, people want something quaint with different local shops on a walkable area, not a 15 block street to cruise. I was talking to a 16 year old girl the other day and she said “Now they need carts with jewelry and other gift items”. Out of the mouths of babes....

PitMix Jun 01, 2020 01:15 PM
Human Traffic

I hope you are wrong because I really enjoy State Street when it is closed. In fact, I'm thinking of going back downtown for the 1st time in years because of it. It's like having a parade Every Day! You know how we LOVE our Parades!

a-1590887682 May 30, 2020 06:14 PM
Human Traffic

By the end of summer, if restaurants last that long, most will file for bankruptcy and close. The only thing the city is doing by opening up State Street is giving the restaurant and bar owners a few good months. They make the most money during the summer. The city makes the most revenue during the summer. In exchange for revenue the city is allowing the coronavirus to spread into the community. If any of you go downtown late in the afternoon on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, you'll see what the rest of us already know. The tourists are back, without masks, mingling too closely with everyone. Remember, asymptomatic carriers represent about 50% of those who have the virus. It just takes one person to be a super spreader. Our numbers are already on the incline and they will begin to rise sharply. Remember, the terrorists are back enforce on the weekends. Oh, and we just had some major marches around the county. Exactly how many of those individuals didn't wear masks and got too close to someone else?

a-1590888721 May 30, 2020 06:32 PM
Human Traffic

Good grief, we live in a tourist hub. We need tourists. The demise of State Street has been in motion for decades. Mature planners look five and ten years down the road...

a-1590887847 May 30, 2020 06:17 PM
Human Traffic

I'm with Rex on the inevitable outcome of this experiment. To me, the only solution for State Street's survival is to permit housing on the second floor of every property. To keep State Street alive there has to be residents of the street that care for it, not just shop and restaurant owners.

a-1590899025 May 30, 2020 09:23 PM
Human Traffic

Like the idea of second-story housing, but how do we keep it affordable for locals and out of the hands of profiteers? Plus, there's the matter of parking. Complicated issue.

a-1590992313 May 31, 2020 11:18 PM
Human Traffic

Give them parking passes to park under Paseo Nuevo. With Macy’s and Nordstrom’s closed, there will be plenty of parking.

mark snyder May 30, 2020 06:18 PM
Human Traffic

Corona will be gone by Sept.

a-1590892000 May 30, 2020 07:26 PM
Human Traffic

lol!!!

Hokey-Pokey May 31, 2020 08:05 AM
Human Traffic

Not unless you believe there not postings on FB.

a-1590943885 May 31, 2020 09:51 AM
Human Traffic

Sept?? It was supposed to be gone by Easter. Cpl. Bone Spurs said so himself.

m-cubed May 30, 2020 07:32 PM
Human Traffic

what a sad state the world is in due to this virus. the only one who 'appears' to be thriving is china. but they're probably putting up a front as usual. bold prediction: the fallout, international lawsuits, and blame-game from in the coronavirus aftermath is the catalyst for WW3

a-1590944319 May 31, 2020 09:58 AM
Human Traffic

"Appears to be thriving" is the key issue. We don't know and what we do know is swimming in a sea of misinformation and delusion that have become coin of the realm with many sources of said misinformation being the govt we entrust to provide apolitical reports on events but whose only pretext is the embellishment of one individual. And no, I'm not talking about China.

a-1590902505 May 30, 2020 10:21 PM
Human Traffic

Covid-19 casualties:
Nordstrom
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
Endless Summer
Chucks Waterfront Grill
Enterprise Fish Co

a-1590903915 May 30, 2020 10:45 PM
Human Traffic

The Fish Enterprise, really? (That's what we always called it.) That place has been there forever.

a-1590906571 May 30, 2020 11:29 PM
Human Traffic

They were talking about selling the Enterprise before the pandemic hit.

a-1590944546 May 31, 2020 10:02 AM
Human Traffic

FALSE... all the businesses you mentioned were gasping for air long before COVID.

a-1590904058 May 30, 2020 10:47 PM
Human Traffic

Pedicab drivers will return.

SBLetsGetAlong May 31, 2020 07:00 AM
Human Traffic

Did the City fix the reason why businesses on State were suffering in the first place?
Or is this a bandaid to quiet people/businesses?
The people have been suggesting this idea for well over a decade, heck I think since the traffic lights were removed off the 101.
Let’s wait & see, give change a chance.
Although this change has a hard start with the Covid procedures in place & fewer tourists.

a-1590936581 May 31, 2020 07:49 AM
Human Traffic

I agree, 11:27. This has been too long in coming. We don't even have to look to European cities to see evidence. The Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica is a good example. When I was a kid growing up there, it was a thriving pedestrian mall (in fact, called "the mall"). At one point, someone got the idea that it should be open to vehicle traffic. All of the brick and concrete was removed and replaced with asphalt curbs and sidewalks. It didn't take so long before it was determined that businesses were no longer thriving. So, they closed it to vehicle traffic again, and it's once more a quaint and thriving section of downtown. And I like the idea of carts!

Hokey-Pokey May 31, 2020 08:04 AM
Human Traffic

We need push the homeless out of there if we want a viable downtown.

This is truth.

Shoppers and tourists aren't coming to see the drunken pants psssrs.

may3591 May 31, 2020 08:09 AM
Human Traffic

How about a compromise. Downtown workers get 1st chance at 2nd story housing and State St. is closed to traffic 2 days per week. Vending carts is a great idea.

surfbum May 31, 2020 08:33 AM
Human Traffic

Maybe Santa Barbara will revert to what it once was before it evolved into a pretentious border town for Angelenos.

buckwheat May 31, 2020 08:58 AM
Human Traffic

If State Street is dying, it is not due to the virus. It is due to greedy landlords who would rather have their State Street properties vacant than to rent to business owners for a reasonable rate. This was going on long before the virus arrived.

Sam The Dog May 31, 2020 10:53 AM
Human Traffic

Buckwheat, I strongly recommend you take some economic and basic business courses. There are many available at SBCC. How long do you think your favorite restaurant would be in businesses if it sold you food for less than the cost to bring it to your table (which includes food costs, labor cost, utilities, even long term expenses like improvements to the kitchen, decor upgrades, staff training, marketing, credit card fees, etc.) ? Landlords have to make long term decisions like how they're going to replace the roof in a couple of years or how they're going to pay for the new fire sprinklers required with a new tenant or the installation of a new ADA restroom when something as simple as moving a counter can trigger and arduous permitting process with numerous code compliance. Calling out "greedy landlords"is a cop out for someone who doesn't understand economics while refusing to do any research.

a-1590992599 May 31, 2020 11:23 PM
Human Traffic

When surveyed about what their problems were (before the pandemic), not one State St. business owner said “high rent”.

hz May 31, 2020 09:25 AM
Human Traffic

upstairs apartments for locals will not work if State street is re opened to traffic...imagine..noise exhaust fumesalong with drunkenrevelry from all the bars...keep the street closed to car traffic and create a new scene downtown..bring back the street artists...non amplified...bring the side streets into the plan ...side street attractions... we could use more open space plazas...Paso Robles has a great downtown scene...rather than a corrodor..some of the buildings fronting state could be removed to create more space with plazas .

a-1590945046 May 31, 2020 10:10 AM
Human Traffic

People do live above shops in big cities around the world. My brother lived above a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco. Imagine smelling one kind of food constantly, day and night. But he survived, and actually enjoyed his life in the city. We are not SF or NYC, but we can adapt to some big city elements.

SBRoses May 31, 2020 03:14 PM
Human Traffic

My husband and I lived on a major street in a European capital for a year and we had a blast. We're older now and we value peace and quiet so we relocated home to SB but there are plenty of people who would love to live downtown. If I were in my 20s, I would be clamoring to.

SBRoses May 31, 2020 03:15 PM
Human Traffic

I should add that we do live downtown but in a house on a quiet street. NOT on State St. But if I were 25 again, I'd sign up in a heartbeat.

a-1590944903 May 31, 2020 10:08 AM
Human Traffic

The city can change rules to allow housing above shops and restaurants. They can close parts of the streets. But they can’t make building owners build housing, and they can’t make owners rent at reasonable rates. They probably can’t require landlords to rent only to locals instead of rich second-home owners. There are a lot of ideas, but we need to focus on what the city government can actually do.

Sam The Dog May 31, 2020 10:45 AM
Human Traffic

What the city can do @10:08 is put in place ordinances that encourage the building of rental units and remove barriers for their construction. Every regulation put in place increases the cost of construction, which in turn increases the amount of revenue needed to make a project profitable, and if a project isn't profitable no one will build it.

a-1590947530 May 31, 2020 10:52 AM
Human Traffic

Is is possible to build profitable units that are also affordable? I suspect not, not in downtown SB, even if regulations and permit fees were slashed. We do need to look at our permit fees—they are really high, and there are so many of them.

Sam The Dog May 31, 2020 10:58 AM
Human Traffic

The fee charged by the city for an HLC review (historic landmark commission, which covers all of downtown) is about $500 per unit. That is just the per unit fee for an HLC review, it does not include the cost to prepare the special set of plans for HLC, the construction documents, nor any other city building/traffic impact/permit/you name it fee imposed by the city and building department. That is $500 per rental unit, not per property, for a group of volunteers to critique the exterior appearance of the development. That $500 needs to be paid for in future rents.

a-1590950234 May 31, 2020 11:37 AM
Human Traffic

Sam The Dog, You are correct that the City can put in place ordinances that encourage the building of residential units in the downtown zone. And the biggest impediment to residential is parking. If we didn't require parking. The use of City-owned parking and allowing urban residents to decide whether or not they needed a car or could get along without one would go a long way to making downtown housing economically viable.

a-1590992856 May 31, 2020 11:27 PM
Human Traffic

11:37 a.m. Give renters parking passes in Paseo Nuevo. With Macy’s and Nordstrom’s closed, there will be plenty of room.

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