The City Council is about to consider approval of a new phase of the Bicycle Master Plan (BMP) for Santa Barbara.

The north-south system of one-way streets on the east and west edges of the area (Castillo and Bath, Anacapa and Santa Barbara) allow car and bike lanes along with parking on each street. The southern perimeter is also a pair of one way streets: Haley and Gutierrez.

For the northern perimeter, however, the proposal would include eliminating all on-street parking from the Micheltorena Street bridge over Highway 101 as far as Anacapa Street on the Eastside and installing two-way bicycle lanes. This would mean the loss of 100 parking spaces used by residents and over 50 small businesses along this corridor.

This change would have a huge impact on the parking in the blocks all around the area which are already crowded. Most businesses on Micheltorena Street do not have off-street parking to offer their clients, and there are no public parking sites. Many residences do not have sufficient off-street parking.

What makes more sense is:

(1) Consider an alternate street for this purpose, such as Sola which is four feet wider already and would not require the elimination of parking; or

(2) Follow the model of creating complementary one way streets (such as Micheltorena and Arrellaga or Micheltorena and Sola), which would eliminate the need to take away all parking spaces.

Small businesses, such as my own, which has been located on Micheltorena Street for over 30 years, would be hard pressed to continue to function without accessibility for elderly and disabled clients. Please show up at the next City Council Meeting on February 23 to request the Council to reconsider alternatives.


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