Regarding the “Parklets or No Parklets” article, as well as a recent opinion urging that the city bring back car traffic to State Street, I wish to add this comment.

What can bring visitors — both local and non-local — to a unique and successful downtown that Santa Barbara can benefit from and be proud of? Is reverting back to old times the answer?

Times change, and if Santa Barbara wishes to adapt to these new times and prosper, we need a bold and beautiful new plan for State Street. With the proper design, restaurants and shops could have designated outdoor space without having to construct ugly wooden structures. Allowing only foot traffic would encourage leisurely shopping, and restaurant and café attendance. People can bike downtown but should be required to walk their bikes throughout the promenade. This would be a safe and elegant solution.

As a longtime Santa Barbara resident, I’m embarrassed for our downtown with its shabby chaos and vacant properties. It’s no accident that there are vacant properties. If State Street were an attractive and exciting location, business would be thriving there.

I feel kind of sorry for visitors who may have heard that Santa Barbara is a beautiful city to visit when all you see is old pavement dotted with ugly structures and people sleeping in doorways.

We need a vision that would restore the character of our downtown while presenting fresh new energy and sights.


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