At one time State Street was one of the most attractive and vibrant streets in California. A drive down State was a must for visitors and locals alike to enjoy the Spanish motif, as well as, to get a glimpse of the many boutique shops that adorned the street. Equally enjoyable was the convenience of the electric trolleys and, of course, the parades and festivals that make Santa Barbara special.

This changed with COVID as restaurants struggled to survive, and the city offered help by closing off State Street and allowing restaurants to erect parklets for outdoor dining. While this rightfully helped restaurants, State Street became less accessible and the parklets turned out to be eyesores as well as breeding grounds for dirt and rodents.

With COVDID officially over, there has been a great deal of discussion on how to return State Street to an attractive and vibrant thoroughfare. The best suggestion I’ve heard came from a restaurant owner whose main interest is making State Street a world class destination for locals and tourists alike.

With that as the goal we suggest the following:

Widen the sidewalks and allow restaurants and retailers to use the space as they do in Paris, Rome, or the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Outside dining in settings with attractive wrought iron fencing, colorful awnings and umbrellas that contribute to the beauty of our city.

Make State Street a one-way street with a dedicated bike path. Add to this the return of electric buses for easy access to local businesses and, most important, bring back the parades and festivals to State Street that make Santa Barbara a destination for people from all over the world.

Expensive? Yes. Worth it in the long term? Absolutely!


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.