City Council Votes to Keep Cars Off State Through 2026

By the edhat staff

The Santa Barbara City Council voted on a series of proposals that will keep outdoor dining open and the State Street Promenade closed to vehicles through 2026.

On Tuesday, the five plus hour meeting heard from a variety of community members and tension within the council. 

Councilmember Eric Friedman and Mayor Randy Rowse promoted the idea of keeping the majority of State Street open to vehicles, except for a few blocks on lower State. Rowse expressed frustration over how long it’s taken to make decisions and see improvements in the promenade, specifically for those with disabilities, and a safe balance between bicyclists and pedestrians.

The public comments showed a similar divide among the community members. Retail supporters stated the Promenade was unfairly advantageous to bars and restaurants while brick and mortar shops suffer. One commenter stated the storefront vacancies could be due in part to businesses not wanting to open on a closed street making it harder for customers to access their store.

Others cheered the street closure stating it promotes local businesses and methods for alternative transportation. 

The Santa Barbara City Council voted 5-2 to keep State Street closed to vehicular traffic until December 31, 2026, or until the implementation of the State Street Master Plan, whichever comes first. Friedman and Rowse voted in opposition.

The council also voted 6-1, with Rowse opposing, to create a public right-of-way parklet design program for parklets outside of the promenade.

All councilmembers agreed to parklets remaining on private property as long as they receive permits through the Community Development Department. 

The majority of the council also agreed to change The State Street Interim Operations Committee from an ad hoc committee back to a subcommittee with public meetings complying with the Brown Act for more transparency. The vote was 6-1 with Rowse again opposing.

Edhat Staff

Written by Edhat Staff

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  1. ah so it looks like Bob Stout won his war and now controls all of State Street. Good job Santa Barbara city council. You guys sure have wasted a TON of money and time on this. Over a million $ in our tax revenue spent on consultants, architects, designers, and more consultants. Just to ignore everything they produced. They have ignored public opinion and comment.
    This wreaks of lobbyists. So now we all know. Santa Barbara is controlled by bars and a few diners downtown. What a joke. I really don’t understand this council and their wasteful ways of spending, time consuming events that should be settled with a meeting and a vote. Nah, lets drag things out for ever and run more businesses and families out of town. That is where we are now.

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