Wheels on the Street

The proposed elimination of over 80 parking spaces on Micheltorena Street makes me more of a partisan in favor of district elections for City Council than ever. If this part of the downtown Westside had a designated councilmember, this idea, so thoughtless and abusive of the area residents, would already be annulled.

I live on Bath Street a few blocks below Micheltorena. The old building I live in has seven tenants and two spaces for off-street parking. This is typical for this neighborhood. The area evolved in such a way that there is not enough parking for residents. I compete every day for parking with scores of downtown workers, tourists, shoppers, and RV dwellers who circle the neighborhood and camp for days at a time. Street storage is not enforced on weekends, and so individuals from elsewhere park on my block on Wednesday and leave cars until Monday. If I get home late on a street-sweeping night, I feel lucky to get a parking space on the appropriate side of the street five blocks away. If there is construction in the neighborhood, I call the city street-sweeping office and beg them to bag signs to create more parking. They usually ignore me.

I have been a bike rider in Santa Barbara for over 40 years. I understand the good intentions of the Micheltorena Street idea. I also understand that it is impossible in this neighborhood. Although I am sure it fits right in with the city master plan, especially that part of local dogma that says the more privileged may look down their noses at the less privileged and say, “You need to make a sacrifice … for the good of the city.”

You can be sure none of the “planners” involved in this insane idea live in this area, and you can be very sure that wherever they live, they all have off-street parking.

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