As a longtime resident of Santa Barbara, I’d like to offer my vision of a re-designed State Street Promenade.
As it is, the current “feel” or atmosphere of State Street is shoddy and dangerous. It is neither one thing or another, just a chaos with no character. The disorder and lack of planning seems to encourage those who either scream at frightened shoppers or who use the sidewalk and doorways for their daytime, passed-out slumber.
A new design must incorporate clearly designated areas for walking, dining, cultural attractions, and other shopping. There should be no bike-riding on State Street as it presents an inevitable physical danger to shoppers and families. Most of the “bikes” being used are now motorized and high-speed, not much different than actual motorbikes/cycles. The status of bike riding on the promenade wouldn’t be compatible with a safe space for pedestrians.
Push back the restaurant tables to a point where the curb meets the street, but also consider eliminating the curbs and having the street tiles uniform with the current sidewalk. Create street installations that are movable/portable so parades can resume there.
Give small business help in start-ups to give the street a more unique character. There are too many vacancies as well as high-end, pretentious chain stores.
Create a better State Street that can be a joy and pride for locals as well as visitors.