Saturday, February 13 , 2016, 1:55 pm | Fair 62º

Laurel Abbott: Divided Over Highway 101 Growth Plan

By Laurel Abbott |

As an active local business group, the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors stays up to date on activities around town that can affect residents, businesses and our community. Recently, members heard an enlightening presentation about the upcoming Caltrans work on Highway 101.

We have all watched and benefited from the recent freeway changes that have made our town a bit more navigable and know that there are more changes in the works. Caltrans plans to add lanes from Santa Barbara to Carpinteria with the section from Cabrillo/Hot Springs to Sheffield, including an HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lane for peak traffic times.

There are growing concerns about the costly five-year plan, which includes on-ramp and off-ramp closures, and how it will affect our community businesses and commuters.

David Kent, president of the Montecito Association and a Realtor with Sotheby’s, presented a compelling alternative proposed by the Community Coalition Alternative.

This alternative is less expensive and less intrusive, and would take less time than the Caltrans proposal. It focuses on local concerns about tourism and the beauty of our town. Click here to review their plan online.

Of course, there are two sides to every story. Caltrans had a goal to eliminate what are perceived as dangerous fast-lane on- and off-ramps. Click here to review its plan and goals.

For further information, check with the Montecito Association for upcoming presentations by calling 805.969.2026.

Laurel Abbott is a real estate agent with Prudential California Realty and president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 805.879.8050. The opinions expressed are her own.

» on 02.08.13 @ 02:14 PM

Though I applaud your group for challenging CalTrans, simply removing a key element of interchange reconstruction won’t help. CalTrans had to sell the added lanes based on them being HOV, or the anti car anti everything zealots would have thrown a hissy fit. To accomplish this goal the two interchanges you targeted have to be re done to eliminate left handed ramps.

Your alternative only makes sense if the new lanes added are not HOV. What makes sense from a practical point of view will now meet local politics square on. The result is more delays, higher costs and less actual work done. It took 25 years to get rid of the stop lights because of the unmitigated meddling of this community. We are now on year 20 of this project and little to show for the effort. Two generations go by to fix a problem that could have been done in 3 years.

Still, if CalTrans hadn’t built some of the worst freeways in the country maybe things would work smoother.

» on 02.08.13 @ 08:01 PM

Anyone that has watched the debacle for this planning has to be a bit amused by this quote from the author: “David Kent, president of the Montecito Association and a Realtor with Sotheby’s, presented a compelling alternative proposed by the Community Coalition Alternative.”

The Montecito Association and the businesses in the Coast Village Road are the same people who swallowed the poison pill the City of Santa Barbara sugar coated over the Milpas to Hot Springs widening project.  It was intentional misleading information and projections approved by anti car officials, going as far back as Blum, Garcia, Hart, and others on the council.

The City of SB intentionally “with eyes wide open” interfered with the re-alignment of the Cabrillo south bound bridge forcing a closure of the south bound on ramp. The result funnels weekend and holiday traffic on Coast Village destroying its unique atmosphere.  This traffic makes Olive Mill and San Ysidro terrible.  The same city stated the high volume traffic would not congest the roundabout or ruin Coast Village, yet it fails regularly.

The alternative will eventually have to be to move the south bound bridges over one lane (there is ample room)to achieve the south bound on / off ramps.  The irrational Los Patos options is over $15.0 million dollars just for the rail bridge let alone road configuration.  Hermosillo off ramp will further deteriorate Coast Village.  There is plenty of room to add a third lane bridge north bound with the right lane off ramp.  Of course it means tearing out the roundabout that was put in intentionally to interfere with this rational option. 

If the work had been started with the rest of the now done widening from Milpas the entire project would be done making the projected time frame a non-factor.  It was an intentional design by the anti car activists and the anti car City of Santa Barbara transportation staff of 5 years ago to stop further widening.  On multiple occasions these groups and civil servants stated at meetings the current widening would answer all needs.

You see how well that has worked out.

Unfortunately this is a vital State Transportation Corridor, not a convenient Montecito to Santa Barbara route.  The State of Calif. and Caltrans will not yield to changes making liable.  If there was room the back story on Sheffield, Ortega Ridge and the Mir y Mar would be even more interesting.

So back to what the utopians bought and is now broken.  It still has to be fixed.

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