Elderly and Disabled Need Street Parking, Too

I am one of several business owners concerned about the proposed bike lane project on Micheltorena Street. I have practiced as a primary care physician in my private practice for several years. I took over the practice from Maria Macduff, MD, who served the local patient population for over 30 years. On behalf of my patients, I am writing to inform you of the adverse outcomes that this project will have on our vulnerable patient population.

Our office, as well as many of the offices on West Micheltorena Street, does not hold any off-street parking for patients. During their visits, patients and caretakers utilize the 90-minute parking on Micheltorena Street. In the past, patients have reported difficulties in finding a parking spot and long walks from the street to the office. A majority of our patients are elderly or disabled, and use walkers and wheelchairs to get from place to place. In addition, many of our patients have chronic medical conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders, diabetic neuropathy, back pain, and debilitating arthritis, which complicates the transportation to and from our office.

As a healthcare provider, I fear that the Micheltorena bike lane project, without a proposed parking solution, will be much more than an inconvenience to our patients. I am concerned that our patients will be unable to adjust to the increased transportation distances should they no longer be able to park on Micheltorena Street. Overall, this will result in decreased patient flow to our office and substantially limit the care of our elderly and disabled patients.

I would like to state that as a bike rider myself, born and raised in Santa Barbara, I wholeheartedly support increasing bike accessibility and green modes of transportation. This proposed plan, however, is not the correct solution for the needs of our entire community, as it meets the desires of one community at the expense of the needs of the elderly and disabled.

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