State Street Master Plan Update
The results are in! On Tuesday, January 24 the Santa Barbara City Council received an update on the progress of the State Street Master Plan’s first phase, focused on visioning. City staff and consultant, MIG, shared the result of their visioning outreach, which included a community survey, design workshops, interactive on-street outreach experiences, and more. The process received feedback from nearly 6,000 individuals – almost twice that of outreach performed in cities of larger sizes than Santa Barbara, according to consultant MIG. The presentation began with a statement that there are currently no significant barriers to realizing the vision given by the community, setting a strong foundation for the rest of the findings.
With 79% of survey respondents indicating a preference for no cars on State Street, as well as dedicated bike paths around/through the street where appropriate, and requests to create a flush street, it is clear the community wants a pedestrian friendly promenade. Respondents also indicated. Thanks to the City’s willingness to pivot during the pandemic and close State St to cars, allow on-street outdoor business facilities, and encourage a more pedestrian friendly layout, we find ourselves in a unique situation to finally think outside of the box to address the needs of our downtown community – residents and businesses alike.
Respondents overwhelmingly requested a State Street that is family friendly, features more activities, and that “activated” the portions of the street which currently feature lighter activity in the evenings. Questions still remain regarding the implementation of bike/transit on parallel and/or cross streets as well as parking impacts. However, city staff and consultant MIG’s work will continue. There is still much work to be done and further discussion to be had, with a public draft State Street Master Plan in Fall of 2023, and possible approve in early 2024.
State Street is the heart of our downtown, and the heart of the Santa Barbara. The Chamber has always supported a vibrant State Street that reflects its integral role in our local economy and will continue to do so throughout this process. The future of State Street looks bright – and walkable!