Council Votes for Wider Fire Lane on State Street Promenade

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By edhat staff

The Santa Barbara City Council voted to widen the center fire lane between parklets on the State Street Promenade.

The Promenade is allowed to continue but the center lane must extend from the current 14.5 feet to 20 feet.

Councilmembers rejected other proposed changes by the city staff that included a requirement that all parklets should be portable with the ability to move within 24 hours' notice and to reopen specific areas to vehicles, specifically making Victoria Street open to two-way traffic again. City staff stated these changes were needed to accommodate cleaning, maintenance, traffic flow, and bike lanes. 

The council voted unanimously to reject all proposals except the widened fire lane after numerous business owners complained about not being part of the conversation with city staff.

Councilmember Mike Jordan was especially frustrated with the proposal due to the lack of conversation between the city and local business owners. He stated this was one of the worst errors he's ever witnessed due to the "lack of outreach effort." 

Photos, as seen above, were shown to the council while Santa Barbara City Fire Marshal Ryan DiGuilio explained a lot of space is needed for these trucks to adequately respond to emergencies.

Additionally, it was requested that no obstructions be in front of the Granada Theatre, Balboa Building, and 820 State Street.

A 20-foot fire lane is required by California State law. 

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a-1643409932 Jan 28, 2022 02:45 PM
Council Votes for Wider Fire Lane on State Street Promenade

I absolutely love the promenade, I think it is really cool. I also have absolutely zero problem with this requirement. It's state law, and for good reason. Any complaints are putting $$$ above safety.

paglinsb Jan 29, 2022 11:39 AM
Council Votes for Wider Fire Lane on State Street Promenade

Perhaps they could have rickshaws (human or electric powered) or small "golf carts" (like at the airports) for hire? Many people, whose mobility is compromised, love to "browse" State Street , and are unable to walk that far. The promenade is definitely lovely, but it's really only for those who enjoy walking (uphill at that, if going north.)

Ahchooo Jan 29, 2022 12:30 PM
Council Votes for Wider Fire Lane on State Street Promenade

I like the rickshaw idea. I’ve seen some bicycle carts like that here, in the past, but they were too expensive for me to hire. The shuttle was funded by…what? City taxes? Downtown businesses? Maybe they could subsidize a smaller version—bicycle carts or golf cart trolleys. It would be a good employment opportunity as well. Maybe.

twobits Jan 28, 2022 06:36 PM
Council Votes for Wider Fire Lane on State Street Promenade

I hope they're thinking of a long-term solution, parklettes built of something moveable for future parades, and maybe only close blocks with more restaurants than retail/business offices so there is still some access... and bikeway that's enforced since some riders don't use common sense.

NotReallyDave Jan 28, 2022 07:43 PM
Council Votes for Wider Fire Lane on State Street Promenade

This is another example of City employees "making mistakes". How could Community Development Department "Staff" not remember that there are state laws that need to be adhered to? Did they take another Friday off that day? How could the City Fire Department not bring these issues up at the appropriate time over a year ago when these discussions were going on? What about Public Works Department? No input of street regulations or requirements? I think City Council should open an investigation by an outside party.

a-1643458244 Jan 29, 2022 04:10 AM
Council Votes for Wider Fire Lane on State Street Promenade

I don't like how you state your case, 7:43, but I agree.

The fact that the creation, even under duress, of the promenade did NOT include the 20 foot fire lane is inexcusable. Health and safety considerations and laws are so fundamental to the practice of city government. It's appalling this was allowed to slip by. That it did is on SB City staff, every level, and their bosses, those elected.
As a thought experiment, imagine if you found out Cottage or whatever hospital you or your loved ones were in didn't have required egresses or fire walls and doors.
Imagine if there WERE a fire on State St. and people needed to get out and emergency vehicles needed to get in.
Of course we haven't had a hospital fire or a spreading downtown fire, in part because we prevent them with building and usage codes. Let's do the same with the promenade.

a-1643458465 Jan 29, 2022 04:14 AM
Council Votes for Wider Fire Lane on State Street Promenade

7:43, I agree up to your last sentence. This does not, yet, require an outside investigator. But I get it. I've worked for County govt. Heads very very rarely roll. Often, very very often, some butts should be kicked that aren't.

a-1643458693 Jan 29, 2022 04:18 AM
Council Votes for Wider Fire Lane on State Street Promenade

Replying to myself at 4:10, because someone is going to try to nail me for a silly comparison - I know that streets are not comparable to hospital building construction. I was just looking for some comparison and was unimaginative and inaccurate. I'm sure you guys can come up with a better analogy.

a-1643471206 Jan 29, 2022 07:46 AM
Council Votes for Wider Fire Lane on State Street Promenade

Providing sufficient space for emergency vehicles should be common sense and shouldn't require a state law to bring it about. Unfortunately we have become accustomed to the "there-should-be-a-law" attitude toward our daily life rather than intelligently using logic and common sense.

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