The roads near the East Beach volleyball courts and alongside the municipal golf course on Las Positas are newly narrowed to one lane in certain places in the hope of eliminating the multiple collisions, including fatal accidents, that have occurred in those spots, part of the City of Santa Barbara’s Vision Zero strategy.
On Cabrillo Boulevard, cars now park at East Beach by backing in on the diagonal. The city re-painted the lane stripes last Tuesday to eliminate one lane and add the deeper space required to park. Drivers can use the bike lane to maneuver into the spot, and, when pulling out, drivers have a clearer line of sight for oncoming bikes and cars, and a legal U-turn. It has the added benefit of conveniently pointing doors and trunk lids toward the beach, said Rob Dayton, head of city parking, and also added 28 parking spaces, said Derrick Bailey, the city’s chief transportation engineer. Parking nose-in is illegal, Dayton said, as it forces drivers to go against both car and bicycle traffic. He added that that peer pressure is already being heard from the beach as people call out to tell drivers how to park.
Further midtown at Las Positas, the southbound lanes just past Loreto Plaza to the traffic lights at San Onofre Road have been reduced to one lane to allow new left-turn lanes at McCaw Avenue and Stanley Drive. Past the traffic signal at Adams Elementary School, the road returns to two lanes. So far, said Dayton, the anticipated congestion has not materialized, and drivers seem to be merging appropriately. Both intersections had been the site of “really serious” collisions in the past, he said. “If we did nothing, we know there would be another collision,” Dayton said. “The whole point of Vision Zero is taking the existing collision patterns and doing something now to prevent them.”