The New State Street, Like Ciclavia 24/7
I had heard about this closing of Santa Barbara's State Street in response to the pandemic and have been more than a little curious to see what exactly it looked like. State Street, if you have never been, is the main drag through the downtown area of Santa Barbara; yet at the same time, for much of its length, it is only one lane in each direction. That means, especially during the warm months, that it is a long line of cars heading to or from the beach area. The only moving violation I have ever received I got on State - while riding my bicycle. Sidewalks crowded with pedestrians and a street crowded with cars and bicycles, that is State most any time of the year.
Remove cars from the picture and what do you get? You get sidewalks crowded with pedestrians and a street crowded with diners, pedestrians, roller skaters, walkers, bicyclists, people walking dogs, skateboarders, people waiting their turn to get into one restaurant or another, into McConnell's Ice Cream, workers constructing even more elaborate outdoor dining areas, and street musicians. And it is not just restaurants taking advantage of the opened space, other businesses have as well - there was this one shop, purveyors of rugs and textiles whose outdoor space was every bit as large as any of the dining spaces.
If there was a lack of commerce because of a lack of automobiles, I sure didn't see it.
Anyway, I don't know why other cities don't do the same; I think a lot are stuck in the car trap and can't see a way out without gnawing off their own leg.
As fun as State Street is now, there was other riding to do this fine Saturday afternoon which began with a ride from Carpinteria, where we had to check out the community garden, through Summerland and Montecito along the coast, the southern California Riviera, where people were thoroughly enjoying these last few days of summer. (PS: I have no idea what is going on with Blogger's font settings - the different sizes was not my intent)