by Nick Welsh

Six months after it opened for business, Santa Barbara’s
$25-million five-story parking garage is still only one-third to
one-half full during most workdays. According to public works
officials, the 575-space Granada Garage typically has between 150
and 250 cars parked in it, despite a chronic downtown parking
deficit — frequently cited by garage advocates — of about 1,500
spaces. City engineer John Schoof predicted the lot will be used
more once the Granada Theatre renovation is complete, and pointed
out that the Granada Garage is still operating with only one of its
two entrances. “And we have to admit that Santa Barbara does not
advertise the existence of its garages architecturally,” said
Schoof, acknowledging that some motorists might not understand the
new structure, with its many architectural style notes, is in fact
a parking garage.

The extent to which the garage is utilized could be a factor in
the upcoming debate regarding whether parking should be allowed to
continue on three blocks of downtown bike lanes on Figueroa and
Anapamu streets. City officials allowed on-street parking in these
bike lanes while the Granada Garage was under construction, and now
some downtown merchants and the Downtown Organization don’t wish to
relinquish these additional parking spaces. City traffic engineers
and planners have issued conflicting recommendations on this score.
Schoof has recommended city planning commissioners also take a
wait-and-see approach regarding City Hall’s failure to include a
turning lane on Anacapa Street into the Granada Garage. This
Thursday, planning commissioners are scheduled to review various
remedies; the cheapest and easiest would be to remove 13 on-street
parking spaces in front of the County Administration Building’s
Anacapa Street entrance. Schoof and other planners want to see the
garage operating at full volume with both entrances open before
deciding if any action is required.


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.