I disagree with “Restore Vehicles to State Street.” We should not only allow cars on State Street, we should reserve it for their exclusive use.

Currently, unruly bands of youths on bikes terrorize our downtown. Drawn to the wide-open pavement like moths to a flame and high on the knowledge that they need not fear errant car doors, these bikers engage in egregious behavior, such as cycling all the way from Sola to Gutierrez. The absence of motor vehicle traffic has similarly emboldened pedestrians to expand their footprint beyond the sidewalks into the middle of the road. Both groups have demonstrated their untrustworthiness, and thus forfeited their right to access State Street.

In addition to restoring order, reserving State Street for cars would revitalize the downtown economy. The current unholy mixture of bike and foot traffic deters visitors (who paradoxically make up a large fraction of those strolling our downtown streets) and the economic activity they bring. In contrast, a fundamental principle of retail tells us that nothing draws a customer in like glimpsing a store’s wares through the window of a car careening by at 30 mph.

Since downtown is effectively a hellscape ruled by the whims of a cabal of cyclists and pedestrians, let’s invite cars — and only cars — to cruise State Street. Any other choice disavows the motor vehicle supremacy underlying the characteristic sprawl (and accompanying traffic) that imbue Southern California with so much of its unique charm.

If my arguments haven’t convinced you, consider my pedigree. While I would not call recent arrivals to Santa Barbara second-class citizens, it’s indisputable that they occupy a lower rung than more established locals and should enjoy fewer rights and privileges. Distinguishing true locals from newcomers is a delicate art, but I’m sure we can all agree that my family qualifies, and anyone who arrived after we did does not. Simply put, Santa Barbara should reflect the preferences of the families who have lived here exactly as long as we have, and we prefer cars.

Also, I’m all for building more housing, just not this particular project.


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