State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

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By edhat staff

The local chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) released the State Street Promenade and housing community survey results.

Earlier this month, local architects launched a "2020 Design Charrette to Reinvigorate, Reinvent, Reimagine, and Repurpose" Santa Barbara's downtown area.

AIA states the "Charrette" consists of 16 design teams who will apply their expertise to envision a future Downtown Santa Barbara. The community survey was meant to inform the designers as they solve problems and illustrate new ideas for downtown.

“Our assumptions about large retail and office space as the foundation of our downtowns are being shattered. The level of interest and concern about downtown Santa Barbara’s health is demonstrated by the nearly 5,000 survey responses the AIA has received and the 150+ design professionals who will volunteer their time this month and next to 'Repurpose, Reimagine, Reuse, and Reenvision Downtown State Street,'” said Architect Dennis Thompson.

Approximately 4,800 survey responses were received in English and Spanish with 98% of respondents living in Santa Barbara's South Coast. Over 24% of people were over 65 years of age, 20% in the 25 to 34 age range, and 18% in the 35 to 44 range.

Over 93% of respondents supported the idea of permanently closing part of State Street to vehicular traffic in one form or another. Results were closer when it included cyclists with 56% approving the promenade for bicyclists as well as pedestrians and 35% favoring only pedestrian use. 

The top four categories for long-term activities on State Street included dining, music, art, and places to sit. 

Perhaps the most debated issue of downtown development is the incorporation of high-density housing. 63% of respondents approved the idea of more housing in the downtown State Street area. The majority of support was geared toward small one to two-bedroom rental units capped at no higher than three stories in height.

The majority of respondents stated they would need a car if living downtown and would pay extra for a parking space.

The full list results are available here.

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SBTownie Aug 20, 2020 11:25 AM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

I'm surprised so many people favor closing it permanently. I initially (a few years ago) thought it would be a great idea, but I've since changed my mind. I favor a single lane of traffic going down the street toward the water, but not back up. Incredibly slow speed limit, and a dedicated bike lane. I currently can't stand the bicyclists riding all over the street, especially in the farmers market. They should be confined to a dedicated lane. There is something iconic about heading down State to emerge at the water, and we have a strong cruiser culture, plus the need for emergency vehicles, etc. to be able to easily access State. There is actually some data showing that completely closing streets is not that helpful - and Carp for example just scrapped their closure for this reason. A single lane would enable a significant widening of sidewalks so that pedestrians have more room and are able to accommodate more outdoor dining, which pre-pandemic I believe was a shortcoming of State Street. Will all restaurants want to have a huge outdoor presence so big once COVID is over? Sure, some want more covers, but once we can go back inside, do we NEED all of that outdoor space? Why not a hybrid model? I believe a revitalization of State is essential and a partial closure and paring down to one lane is the best way to have it all. My nightmare is that we continue to see the street used as it is now by vagrants loudly preaching with their words echoing off the buildings, and awful kiosks like you see in malls selling tchotchkes and doing temporary tattoos and other tacky stuff. This is California and while I'm not huge on car culture, I think a drive down State Street is an iconic California experience that will permanently change the entire experience of our town especially for those just coming here for the first time and wanting to take it in.

bosco Aug 20, 2020 01:17 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

Keeping the pedestrian zone with cross streets open seems like a nobrainer at this point. I think having a good bike lane down the middle would be nice but may cause more problems than it's worth.
There too many clueless pedestrians and dangerous bike cruisers for that to safely work. I'd also add that having the ability to open up the street for parades is still important. Even though I'm personally not a parade person, SB seems to thrive on these State Street Parades and that should continue. Maybe take a cue from Disneyland on how that's done. Not sure how I missed this survey, I would love to have contributed.

a-1597962460 Aug 20, 2020 03:27 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

No one was "invited", I think; I believe it was available on edhat, independent and probably others. It was rather a push-poll and I am a little surprised that the conclusions were not all for high density.

Ahchooo Aug 20, 2020 02:44 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

I hope the planners take note that most people said they’d need a car if they lived downtown. I’m in favor of public transit and used the bus system weekly pre-covid, but we must acknowledge that most people want/need to have regular use of a car and therefore will need parking spaces.

PitMix Aug 20, 2020 03:53 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

Providing parking kills the economics of the project. Too bad that program where you could rent cars in your neighborhood didn't succeed. That is really what we need instead of everyone having their cars sit unused 90% of the time.

ChemicalSuperFreak Aug 20, 2020 04:03 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

PIT: I think the renting cars in your neighborhood idea will face challenges going forward because of COVID. Sure, my car sits unused 90% of the time, but I know it's COVID-free. Even with a COVID vaccine, what about the next pandemic? It's an eventuality. Frankly, I'm shocked the AirBnB is going forward with an IPO. I think COVID has changed the way we'll be interacting with each other and the world for many years to come.

a-1597975433 Aug 20, 2020 07:03 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

Speaking of alternatives to not owning a car, a court injuction just saved Uber and Lyft in this state from leaving at the 11th hour, from the draconian impacts of Democrat super-majority AB-5, which is trying to destroy the gig economy. So if these two operations now get an AB-5 free pass, why not every other gig worker who chose not to be an "employee" and was quite happy with their independent contractor employment options?

letmego Aug 25, 2020 05:44 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

Not even just one car, multiple cars. If you've got a 1BR apartment, you are going to have 2 people and probably 2 cars... We have a 2BR house and 2 neighbors all have more cars than drivers, with few exceptions.

a-1597960914 Aug 20, 2020 03:01 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

Closing State Street is a terrible idea. Expanding sidewalk dining is okay, but auto traffic and easy pedestrian access to shops as well needs to remain - not the obstacle course it has become. . Closing State Street to auto traffic was a dagger into the heart of our own downtown. Closing the first block on a few side streets off State Street that creates meadering, occasional courtyard if you must, but not the entire main downtown traffic corridor. Re-invent the midblock paseos to be pedestrian destinations that connect these single side street traffic blocked courtyards. I like the West Victoria - one block closure. That works 100% better than closing the entire long main street. See if a few more of these one side street block closures could work, scattered along State Street, but keeping most of the main cross traffic streets open.

notyouagain Aug 20, 2020 06:44 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

i disagree with you. i believe you are right though regarding them having closed the whole thing off.. that that is ridiculous. i just don't want anything closed off. basically.. the people who are not from here.. or who are from here and have sold their souls are telling those who want santa barbara to continue to be what it was to move out.

bosco Aug 21, 2020 12:19 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

Please explain why anyone ever needs to drive down state street. There is no parking and it is not a thoroughfare. There is literally zero impact to traffic and/or business access by closing it off as long as the cross streets remain open. "Take State Street, it's faster" said no one ever. This betters the community in every way. If the city can somehow manage the homeless issue with State, this will revitalize the area.

letmego Aug 25, 2020 05:43 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

I actually think it's fine as is. You can cross over state st at any cross street, which gives you access to every block. And you don't have to try and remember which state st blocks are that big section, the answer is none.

PitMix Aug 20, 2020 03:55 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

I wonder what this obsession with building height comes from? State Street is the one place where taller buildings makes sense. I don't hear that anyone wants to demolish the Granada Building and it is pretty tall. A really dense core would allow other areas to stay less dense or undeveloped. Like it or not, we will get there eventually due to population growth. Might as well figure this out now and do it sustainably.

420722 Aug 20, 2020 05:49 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

I disagree pit (big surprise), letting them build a really dense core can and will only lead to developers wanting the same at every busier part of town. Tsunami- same here, based on the questions, it appears they already know the end result they just wanted to see how much push back they’re going to get.

a-1597975091 Aug 20, 2020 06:58 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

The Granada Building, built before the Great Earthquake, was clearly a one and done. Because it was so tall, the city knew it wanted no more like it. They made the smart choice for us back then. We honor their legacy. And we honor the town they carefully built after the Great Earthquake, when the Granada was the last man standing - a reinforced concrete novelty building at the time. Though none of the law office clients ever wanted to visit the law offices in that building for a long, long time so the big local firms moved to lower story buildings near by.

tsunami67 Aug 20, 2020 04:36 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

People who missed the survey probably thought that a Charrette was something involved with barbequing - a cross between charcoal and briquette. I was one of them until I looked the word up. It certainly was an overly pretentious and complex title for what could simply be called a survey. I looked at the questions and thought they were pushing their end game - housing with no space for parking, tall buildings to block any mountain views, etc. There was no place to offer other options for State Street's future.

RHS Aug 20, 2020 06:27 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

As I commented when the survey was first offered, it was one of those devices that only allow responses that are consistent with the agenda of the agency offering it. People who wanted to offer alternatives were not able to do so. It is a set up. Nothing to see here.

notyouagain Aug 20, 2020 06:39 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

yeah.. totally true.
i mean.. what are the architects going to say?
'no.. we think state street should stay the way it was.. '?
no. how would that give them any business? it wouldn't.
you are exactly right. but santa barbara just gets more lame and more lame little by little by little. for example.. what they just did with anacapa street in making it one lane.
i was born here in 64.. and i know.

notyouagain Aug 20, 2020 06:37 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

i am against state street turning into a promenade.
i was born here in 64 and i just think it is a lame idea. i understand how we had to widen the freeway and take out the highway lights and make state go under the freeway.. though i remember a record store called the turning point.. where i bought albums.. and i think i parked out in front of it before all that happened.
i just think that no matter what you all think about this change being a good thing.. state street will not be what it used to be.. which was, in my opinion, exactly what it ought to be.
there ought to be foot traffic.. on the sidewalks.. and there ought to be car traffic.. on the street. there ought to be this mix. it's a good mix. the cars aren't the pedestrians.. and the pedestrians aren't the cars. each has their special place. but when the cars are taken away.. everything becomes boring and monotonous. it's just another step in the homogezation of santa barbara into an everytown.. and if that's what you want.. then you'll get it.. but santa barbara won't be santa barbara anymore.. no matter what you think.

giftedinSB Aug 21, 2020 12:41 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

"State Street will not be what it used to be" - sorry to be the one to tell you this, but State Street hasn't been what it used to be in a long, long time. State Street has become a ghost town (even before COVID-19) with mom & pop shops being priced out by greedy landlords. It has also become overrun with homeless people that the city seems to want to do nothing about except put in partitions on benches so they can't sleep there. I think turning it into a promenade can give it the fresh new look it's needed for years.

sacjon Aug 21, 2020 12:47 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

NOTYOUAGAIN - making it a promenade would make i "boring and monotonous?" How so? I think the contrary - shutting it off to traffic will make more space for businesses to get creative and offer more outdoor service and facilities. It would attract more people (as we've seen over the past few months) which in turn would drive away most of the more "gamey" homeless people that have been taking over State for decades. Make it a nice place and allow local businesses to get creative and thrive! Absolutely zero need for cars to drive up and down State. Keep it closed!

a-1598039803 Aug 21, 2020 12:56 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

Looks like the "gamey homeless" who no longer have easy picking on State Street, moved on to City Hall where they tried to pick a fight with city employees, according to Roger's police report. Good to bring these issues right into the halls of power and share up close what the rest of the community has had to deal with for far too long. Parking them permanently in City Hall is okay by me. 20 years of poor city stewardship built this problem; now they own it.

a-1598460543 Aug 26, 2020 09:49 AM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

Greedy tenants who did not have a viable business plan and demanded to be subsidized by private property owners picked the wrong locations for their failing businesses.

fewtile Aug 21, 2020 08:00 AM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

Ha Ha Ha, re-envisioning downtown, closing State Street yada yada yada...still thinking inside the box. Catering to outsiders was the first mistake; it transformed State St. into a pricey mall, hence the outrageous rents, which aren't gonna change (SB -the Venice of the West) . We will be seeing empty store fronts for some time to come, unless the city decides to dig into its investment portfolio, and subsidize re-inventing spaces like the Macy's or Nordstrom's buildings not much is gonna change.

a-1598042706 Aug 21, 2020 01:45 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

We don't need dense, high rise downtown housing. We need a commuter rail system so people can live where they can afford to live, and in homes they want to live in where they can raise their families.

a-1598037682 Aug 21, 2020 12:21 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

Few cities have a single 13 block one street "downtown". Therefore it is impossible to apply a one size fits all to the entire 13 block thoroughfare of Santa Barbara as they have done now: now seen as The Santa Barbara Dead Zone. Other cities have allowed a few blocks, or a zone of concentrated surrounding blocks, but not one 13 long block main street with little along the surrounding blocks that constitutes a "downtown". West Victoria block closure and other dining zone sides streets in this area in this area will be more successful for outdoor dining, because they are also close to the city's main entertainment destination theaters: Granada, Arlington and Ensemble, as well as sufficient downtown parking allowing easy access to these surrounding side street blocks. 1100-1300 State Street - closed off side street out door dining only in this area, but leave all of State Street itself alone.

giftedinSB Aug 21, 2020 12:43 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

I am very pleased to see that the overwhelming majority favors State Street being closed to vehicle traffic. I just hope that there will be designated lanes for bicyclists because I have witnessed several reckless riders zooming down the path, causing near-misses - or actual accidents as I witnessed last week. I like the idea of it turning into a promenade and am excited to see what it becomes!

a-1598043404 Aug 21, 2020 01:56 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

That "overwhelming majority" came only from a very skewed sampling. It is a collection of self-interested opinions only - no consensus at all to close State Street. It will still have to prove itself to both business owners and property owners. Looking forward to more cost-benefit analysis from the stakeholders on this short-term experiment.

Notyou Aug 21, 2020 01:00 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

Been living and working downtown for 35 years. We definitely need a couple of beat cops to lay down the law downtown. It's a bit out of control right now.

fewtile Aug 21, 2020 01:35 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

I see it as a limited vision for any substantial change (to close down some of State St.). Getting people downtown will require more than side-walk dining, and a farmers market. Having the funkzone where it is, is kinda like having UCSB in I.V., if both we're actually part of downtown or close by there would be a synergistic flow back and forth. It is what it they say.

a-1598404075 Aug 25, 2020 06:07 PM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

Bank of the West- downtown branch, just closed and moving all operations out to their Upper State Street branch. Increasing the State Street dead zone and even fewer reason to go downtown. Nice work. More large empty store fronts - be creative. A terribly sad loss for all. Glad I new State Street when, but it cries for help were ignored by city councils for far too long. "Covid" just made the city council's neglectful decline obvious. When the heart of your commercial and retail sales tax generation source is imperiled, you need far, far more than scattershot "restorative policing". You need a clear sense of order and safety to make a downtown welcoming and thriving. The city never stepped up to the table. Now we all suffer with this civic loss.

a-1598457337 Aug 26, 2020 08:55 AM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

The Restoration Hardware/PressRoom buildings development is moving forward with 36 residential units and 17 parking places. It's across the street from the city parking lot so that will be helpful. But if the city parking lots are used by residences where will the shoppers/visitors park? I think it is great to have more housing downtown but they need to be careful that State Street doesn't become a housing development --- careful, that is, if the city is interested in drawing shoppers for downtown businesses. Few outside people go to shop in residential developments. It would be interesting to see the stats on parking, how many and when in the city parking lots? It would be interesting also to see quotes from the other councilmember, not Harmon, whose district includes State Street, Alejandra Gutierrez.

a-1598459779 Aug 26, 2020 09:36 AM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

Harmon is on record wanting "affordable" downtown housing for herself. She "believes" this project is a good idea. She was appointed to her position; not elected. Personal agendas should not set public policy.

a-1598459640 Aug 26, 2020 09:34 AM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

The city budget needs to be reserve engineered: what amount of tax dollar generation do city operations need to generate, from what sources. How does any new development support the hard numbers the city budget requires. Just wishes and self-interested beliefs of certain city council members is not enough to radically change the direction this city is going. Numbers please, game plan please, or this is just one more handout, boondoggle for the selected few at the expense of the many. Like all other city housing schemes. (Retail sales taxes, tourism taxes, property taxes - give us the projections - wins or losses in each category)

a-1598460723 Aug 26, 2020 09:52 AM
State Street Promenade Survey Results Released

AIA is a de facto business trade operation: not a charitable civic planning organization. Fair enough, but just don't give its voice unearned public authority. Members interests first - fine. But not the city's interests first.

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