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City Aims to Reduce Severe and Fatal Collisions

Safer Crossings and Better Lighting Planned for Carrillo Street

The intersection of San Andres Street and Carrillo Street | Credit: Paul Wellman

In an effort to reduce severe and fatal traffic collisions, the City of Santa Barbara is proposing to revamp the Carrillo Street and San Andres Street intersection by reconstructing its pedestrian crossings, adding pedestrian access ramps for the crossing at Carrillo and San Pascual Street, and including 29 new light fixtures along Carrillo between Bath Street and Miramonte Drive. The Architectural Board of Review unanimously agreed Monday that the project was important for safety, but its members wanted aesthetic details like lighting-styles and potential landscaping to be more clearly defined before proceeding.

The city’s transportation staff said the accidents in the intersection most commonly occur when vehicles turning left from Carrillo onto San Andres collide with vehicles going straight through either direction. The staffer added that the collisions most commonly occur at night, hence the need for the street lights. 

The city plans to improve pedestrian safety by realigning the crosswalks to be more perpendicular with the roadway, shortening them from 88 to 65 feet at Carrillo’s western crossing and 85 to 56 feet at its eastern crossing. It also plans to construct a pedestrian enhancement crosswalk at Carrillo and San Pascual Street by installing a median island with buff pavers, also giving pedestrians a shorter commute across a large, busy intersection.

The project will return before the board following a stronger plan for its decorative details. The board wanted clarification on the project’s street lighting design. The plan may include teardrop fixtures— matching the existing ones at the intersection of Carrillo and Anacapa streets — or slimline fixtures. The teardrop fixtures blend with Santa Barbara’s historic architecture more closely, but the slimline ones appeared to be more practical as they focus the light onto the street and don’t allow it to creep into residential areas. 

The board also grappled with the proposed mulch lining the parkways. Members Leon Olson, Howard Wittausch, Richard Six, and Chair Kevin Moore all agreed landscaping would be better than mulch, but it wouldn’t work due to lack of funding for maintenance. Six asked for the city to find a third alternative and provide examples of the standards used along Cliff Drive by Santa Barbara City College, the intersection of Carrillo and Cliff, and Micheltorena Street for lighting and landscaping before bringing the plan back to them.

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