Sunday, February 14 , 2016, 8:51 am | Fair 75º

Traffic-Safety Project Causing Bottleneck on Carrillo Street Likely to Last Until March

New signals and other changes are expected to reduce crashes at Anacapa-Carrillo intersection, Santa Barbara's most dangerous

Traffic on Anacapa Street in downtown Santa Barbara is squeezed down to one lane — causing frequent backups — at Carrillo Street. Officials say the project is designed to improve safety at the city’s most dangerous intersection.
Traffic on Anacapa Street in downtown Santa Barbara is squeezed down to one lane — causing frequent backups — at Carrillo Street. Officials say the project is designed to improve safety at the city’s most dangerous intersection.  (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

By Lara Cooper, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @laraanncooper |

Many motorists driving through the Carrillo Street corridor in downtown Santa Barbara have found themselves backed up in traffic for several blocks due to a roadway construction project.

But officials say the work centers on much-needed safety improvements for what is the city’s most dangerous intersection.

The construction began last October at Carrillo and Anacapa streets, where crews have been installing traffic-signal conduits for new mast arms that will put the signals out over the street, instead of to the side as they are now.

Extending the lights to where drivers can better see them should greatly “improve signal visibilities and reduce the probable cause of collisions,” said Adam Hendel, the supervising engineer on the project.

The intersection was identified in 2008 as having the highest number of motor vehicles involved collisions in Santa Barbara, Hendel said.

In addition to the new lights, new pedestrian signal indicators with countdown heads will be installed, and sidewalk access ramps are being replaced.

Drainage improvements are also part of the project.

Because of construction on the corners at the intersection, a through-vehicle lane on Anacapa Street has been closed, pinching southbound traffic.

Pedestrian detours have been put in to route people around the construction, and city staff are monitoring traffic on Anacapa and Carrillo streets to adjust signal timing to reduce traffic backups as much as possible, he said.

Hendel said he expects the project will be complete by mid-March.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

» on 02.01.13 @ 12:05 PM

This report should indicate why workers seldom are seen at this project site.

» on 02.02.13 @ 04:40 PM

Great picture!

Remember the the absolutely stupid rush for bulbouts (referred to as BULBOUT HELL)?  This was and is part of the anti car crowd move to kill all auto travel in and around downtown Santa Barbara.  Remember the call for destroying 50% of Chapala capacity from the freeway to Anapamu, and then take the rest of the 2 lanes away in the future? 

This is what downtown traffic would look like if these people get their way!

The Carrillo / Anacapa project is to put in needed lights so there will be proper notification to both drivers and pedestrians (not currently available).  The wonderful thing about this project is it clearly destroys the anti personal transportation organizations arguments.  Pictures are worth a thousand words…..this one is worth a million.

Why is this so important?  There are plans to take Chapala capacity and strip it to 2 lanes from Carrillo to Anapamu (2 blocks).  This is supposed to come back after being defeated soundly 3 years ago.  Who backs it?  Mayor Schneider, House, Murillo, and White.  It is the continuation of the “high density infill” projects that will eventually kill why most residents moved here.

Oh and regarding the bulbouts, have you seen how vehicles drift out to the edge of the curb bulb to get a better view?  Human nature trumps stupid planning every time.

» on 02.03.13 @ 01:58 AM

If I recall correctly, Caltrans found a contractor to completely rebuild an overpass destroyed in an earthquake in a few months.  Why the world should this take so long? Work project for city employees?

And per John_Adams, why are workers so seldom seen at this site?  We need new city department heads.  They should serve at the pleasure of the Council, with their resignations assumed at each election.  If the newly seated Council doesn’t approve them by majority vote, they’re out.  And the Council needs to learn that their primary obligation is to the voters/taxpayers, not to the city employees or their union leaders.  Are ya listenin’, Murillo?

» on 02.03.13 @ 02:01 AM

So, Really, now we know who to vote against.

Don’t get me started on bulbouts and our non-engineering-educated highly politicized (dept head quoted as saying his objective is to eliminate cars in SB - should be fired for malpractice) traffic “planning” (i.e. blocking) department.

» on 02.03.13 @ 03:34 PM

*Laugh*, well it gets better.  I forgot to mention the primary reason the “Bulbout Hell” was cancelled at this intersection was because MTD made it clear it would force the large “Villager” type buses to make wider turns.

These wide turns would make it impossible to safely negotiate the intersection without imposing on the oncoming traffic.

It is also interesting that MTD continues to state if the City wishes to have higher capacity buses or articulating buses the intersections will have to be widened at many State Street and other locations (read that as taking it back to the pre-narrowing).

If we need wider streets to accommodate this “alternative” transportation, so desperately wanted by the anti car groups, why are we continuing to narrow or take capacity from local streets??????

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