About 280 of the City of Santa Barbara’s 1,050 employees either telecommute or schedule their workdays to avoid driving during rush hour traffic. This Tuesday, city councilmembers reviewed a report indicating such arrangements are popular with managers and workers alike and cogitated on how to increase the ratio to 30 percent. Responding to increasing traffic congestion and the escalating costs associated with congestion relief, Councilmember Brian Barnwell indicated he wanted City Hall to pursue “flextime” work scheduling far more aggressively. Traffic engineers estimate that if 2,000 motorists could be removed from the freeway during peak hour traffic, there’d be no more weekday congestion.

A suicide barrier will be erected along the Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge on Highway 154. CalTrans officials estimate the structure will cost $1 million and will take two years to complete. It is not yet known what form the barrier will take, but one possible design is a series of six-foot, curving wrought-iron bars. An average of one person per year jumps from the bridge.

An effort to keep the Rancho San Marcos Golf Course dry went down to defeat this week. Owned by Beanie Baby mogul Ty Warner and located on Highway 154, the course was first developed 15 years ago on the condition that no alcohol would be served to guests, for fear that imbibing golfers would make the twisting mountain road more dangerous. On Tuesday, Warner’s representatives told the county supervisors that Rancho San Marcos was an economic disaster and that some investors had gone bankrupt. Doreen Farr, representing the Women’s Environmental Watch and the Santa Ynez Valley Alliance, who had filed the appeal, was the lone dissenting voice in a sea of supporters. Supervisors voted 4-0, with Susan Rose abstaining, to approve a beer and wine license pending environmental review.

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