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Addressing Downtown Concerns

With the rise of online retailing and more vacant spaces along State Street, the City and community partners are taking steps to enhance the vibrancy of the downtown corridor. There are many project efforts that have been launched to address concerns and keep the area clean and safe.

Permit Process Streamlined on State Street and Coast Village Road

The City’s new ACCELERATE Program was launched in August to make it easier and faster to occupy commercial space on State Street between Cabrillo Boulevard and Sola Street. After the Thomas Fire and debris flow incidents, Council added Coast Village Road to the priority area. All proposed tenant improvements in this area will receive priority for building plan review and design review through December 2018. Learn more…

Vacant Macy’s Building

The announcement of Macy’s closing their downtown store along with 100 other stores across the country falls in line with a nationwide trend of large chain stores closing their doors. Dating back to 1990, the City has a 75-year lease with Macy’s and the lease can be reassigned to another retailer or retail mixed use project. Pacific Retail Partners acquired the remaining lease term and is open to proposals for the space. Read more...

Smoke-Free Outdoor Public Areas

Council adopted a new law designating outdoor public areas as smoke-free to reduce cigarette butt litter and limit exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking is prohibited on sidewalks and paseos, outdoor dining patios before 10:00 p.m., City parking lots and structures, and other outdoor areas. Learn more…

Sculptures on State Street

The 2018 State of the Art Gallery Exhibition was on display in Downtown Santa Barbara. Sculptures by eight local artists were mounted on designated installation pads located on State Street from April to June 2018. This collaboration was supported by the City of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Community Arts Workshop, Santa Barbara Beautiful, and the Downtown Organization. Learn more...

Ambassadors Add Regular Public Safety Presence

Uniformed ambassadors patrol State Street every day from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. to address behavior, maintenance, and aesthetics on State Street. Look for the Ambassadors in red shirts. They join Police Officers, Volunteers in Policing and Community Liaisons, enhancing law enforcement's presence downtown. Learn more...

Alcohol Policy Under Development

Since easy access to alcohol contributes to public intoxication and inappropriate behavior on our streets, the City is drafting a policy that restricts off-premise alcohol sales in convenience stores and gas stations where an individual can buy single-serve bottles. The draft policy will be reviewed by the City Council. Coming soon…

Wayfinding Signage

Signs have been installed to help visitors find parking lots and points of interest. Learn more...

Short-Term Loading and Pick-Up Areas

To adapt to changing retail behavior, transportation staff is reviewing loading zones and short-term pick-up areas of people and products. When the assessment is complete, the curbs will be repainted. Coming soon…

Downtown Street Lane Closures for Electrical Upgrades

To improve electrical reliability downtown, Southern California Edison is upgrading electrical infrastructure in a multi-phase effort to be completed in 2021. Anticipate lane closures for these critical upgrades. Learn more…

State Street Underpass Art Revitalization Project

The City is undertaking an exciting project to redesign the underpass as a safe and inviting destination area with active street and art elements, lighting, and reconfigured lanes for vehicles and bikes. These enhancements will improve the connection between the waterfront and downtown areas and draw pedestrians up State Street. An Opening Event was held on November 15 to get input from the public to activate the underpass area. A request for proposals will be released to invite creative proposals. Community artists, design professionals, downtown stakeholders, and residents are encourages to stay engaged in this effort Suggestions from the meeting are posted online. Read more...

Public Art Installations

The City is partnering with arts organizations for more public art installations and sculptures on State Street, including Pianos on State and Runaway in Storke Placita. Read more...

Consideration of Housing Downtown

To encourage the development of more housing downtown and repurpose the use of future vacant spaces, the City Council and Housing Task Force are considering reduced parking requirements based on location, bulk, size, and scale. The Task Force is evaluating the Average Unit Density (AUD) Program for its effectiveness in developing smaller, more affordable housing units.  The Santa Barbara chapter of the American Institute of Architects held a public design charrette workshop on October 21 and presented at Council in December. Read more...

New Downtown/Waterfront Shuttles

MTD recently purchased fourteen Downtown/Waterfront Shuttles with federal and state transit assistance funds. The new electric shuttles will accommodate more people and encourage the public to park once. Read more...

Last Updated: Nov 12, 2018
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