The future of State Street should be car-free and bike-friendly. Read more below!

About this form

This web form was created to simplify the process of emailing a public comment to the Santa Barbara State Street Advisory Committee (SSAC).

Upon submission, this form will generate an email addressed to SSACSecretary@SantaBarbaraCA.gov with the subject heading "Public comment in support of "Flat and Flexible" design scenario," signed by the provided name and zip code (to indicate local residency or otherwise). Your provided email address will also be cc'd. 

Suggested talking points are provided here, however users of the form are strongly encouraged to personalize the contents of the email; if you’re a business owner, or bike/walk to get to businesses, mention it! Provide an anecdote: if you love to bring your friends, or your dog, or out-of-town family to the promenade, talk about why the newly-pedestrianized State St. compels you to do so! Most importantly, tell the SSAC what you like/dislike about the "Flat and Flexible" scenario they presented for the future of State St. 

State Street: The Heart of Santa Barbara

State Street is often referred to as "the heart" of Santa Barbara; the downtown's main street, key in establishing and driving the culture and economic prosperity of the city.

State Street has gone through periods of success and struggle, with its most recent history being marked by reductions in retail stores and visitor numbers. However, in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the CoVID-19 virus, Santa Barbara temporarily closed its main street to cars in 2020 and allowed restaurants to erect parklets and outdoor eating spaces in the newly-open road space. These 10 blocks (Guttierez to E Sola) have since remained closed to cars and resulted in an impressive transformation of the public space of our city; locals and visitors alike have flocked to the State Street Promenade for food and drink, to window shop, and to visit markets and other city-sponsored events. A number of business owners have reported increased revenue as a result.

The State Street Promenade is used by those in all walks of life. Families safely walk through downtown without the concern of car traffic. Adolescents and young adults have found it to be a fun and inviting place to hang out after school/work.  Friends and visitors tour the nightlife on State Street after dark, enjoying the comfort and ambiance of a place made for people.

The closure has not been without its critics; some call for a return of past car traffic to State Street, while others suggest that bikes be banned from the area, making it exclusive to those on foot. 

The closure was completed with inexpensive Quick-Build materials (e.g.  moveable plastic bollards and minor street paint), in a classic example of what Strong Town's founder Chuck Marohn describes as a "small bet." However, due to the impermanent nature of these features, Santa Barbara's city council must determine whether, and to what extent the changes to State St become permanent.

To this end, a permanent redevelopment of the 400-1200 blocks of State St is currently underway headed by the State Street Advisory Committee (SSAC) who have been tasked with designing a "Master Plan" for these blocks, performing public outreach, and seeking feedback from the community. On May 24, 2023 the SSAC (in coordination with MIG, a consulting company hired by the city) presented three State St redesign scenarios (see the proposed layouts below).

The SSAC is now soliciting residents of Santa Barbara for feedback on these three scenarios. They will be collecting and incorporating public comments into the designs until August 2023, at which point a finalized scenario will be selected.
The time to make a public comment is now. 

*note that the following images are taken from the May 24 SSAC presentation, found online

Three Design Scenarios Presented by MIG Design Group

1. Flat and Flexible

2. Multi-Modal

3. Mixed/Hybrid

Strong Towns SB supports the "Flat and Flexible" scenario

The "Flat and Flexible" scenario presented by the SSAC is highly preferable to the alternatives; it is fundamentally the safest option for pedestrians in that it minimizes the presence of cars on the promenade, instead prioritizing bicycles and pedestrians while also leaving ample room for parklets and community spaces. Members of Strong Towns SB attended several SSAC public outreach events and also wrote a letter to the SSAC prior to their May 24th meeting outlining the needed to create a convenient, comfortable, and interesting space on State Street for pedestrians. The letter can be read here. We are also in the process of writing a follow-up letter to the committee in response to the design scenarios presented on May 24th - that will be posted here as well in the near future.

Example of SSAC proposed State Street "Slow Shuttle"

SBMTD Downtown/Waterfront Shuttle

Example mass bicycle parking area

Example of upper State Street intersection.
No bike lanes. High speed traffic.
Another example of an upper State Street intersection;
unfriendly to cyclists

Some additional aspects of the State St design scenario which we believe deserve further consideration:

State Street: Upcoming events

The SSAC meeting schedule can be found on their website.

Please also note that public comments can be made verbally (in person or virtually) during the public comment portion of all Santa Barbara City Council meetings (Tuesdays at 2:00pm).

State Street: Resources

Links

State Street Advisory Committee: website

State Street Advisory Committee: May 24 Presentation Slides

State St Master Plan website

Friends of State Street website
Nonprofit focused on community engagement initiatives (eg. partnering with businesses and neighborhoods) as the Master Plan CREATESTATE evolves into the future.

MOVE Santa Barbara County
Walking, cycling, and public transit nonprofit advocacy group


Local News and Op Eds

May 27, 2023
Design Proposals for Santa Barbara's State Street Spark Heated Debate

May 27, 2023
Postscript on the Promenade

May 19, 2023
What Will Become of State Street in the Next Hundred Years?