Thursday, September 3 , 2015, 8:52 pm | Fair 69.0º




Concerns Flow Freely at Traffic-Safety Meeting on Santa Barbara’s Eastside

Neighborhood residents detail problems ranging from speeding to lack of streetlights and sidewalk ramps

Residents of Santa Barbara’s Eastside met in small groups Saturday during a municipal workshop to discuss concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety in their neighborhoods.

Residents of Santa Barbara’s Eastside met in small groups Saturday during a municipal workshop to discuss concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety in their neighborhoods.  (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli |

Cars don’t stop for pedestrians in Santa Barbara’s Eastside neighborhood.

That was a major complaint voiced by residents Saturday during a traffic- and pedestrian-safety workshop hosted by Santa Barbara’s Public Works Department.

The meeting at Franklin School’s auditorium was seen as the first step in getting citizen input for improvements in the area.

Transportation project planner Jessica Grant organized residents into tables where each person could talk about concerns regarding speeding, lighting, missing sidewalks and access ramps, bicycling and bus transit.

City staff members facilitated the discussions, helped by printed maps, so residents could pinpoint the most problematic streets and intersections.

“I do have some ground rules: the whole purpose today is to hear Eastside residents only,” Grant said. “There are City Council members here, representatives from Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson’s office, and advisory groups, but you’re here today just to observe.

“If you are a business owner or resident in the area, or on the border of the Eastside neighborhood, you’re welcome to participate.”

A group led by Steve Foley, a transportation planner, talked about speeding on Salinas Street, which makes it dangerous for pedestrians and residents trying to back out of their driveways.

Councilwoman Cathy Murillo translated for Spanish-speaking members of one group, relaying that that people with strollers or children in wheelchairs know exactly what corners are missing ramps or curb cuts.

They sometimes have to go in the street until they can get back on the sidewalk at a driveway, she said.

Throughout the meeting, residents were pointing out specific streets where speeding — and ignoring pedestrians — was a problem.

Some of the worst offenders are people driving their children to school, which stresses out the families who are walking, one mother said.

Rodolfo Galindo, a crossing guard at Montecito and Voluntario streets near the Eastside Public Library, sees this firsthand every day.

“Nobody respects me,” he said. “People make stops California-style, or not at all.”

Galindo has been a crossing guard for three years, and he helps at least 75 children across the street before and after school.

At Saturday’s meeting, he was asking for more enforcement by police.

“They need more action around the schools before something happens,” he said. “Yesterday, a kid was hit by a car at Voluntario and Cota.”

Recently, Galindo helped a woman who was being bitten by a dog that escaped from a yard, said Officer Adrian Gutierrez, beat coordinator for the Eastside.

Galindo and some nearby construction workers ran over to help, and Galindo repeatedly hit the dog with his stop sign, Gutierrez said.

Beyond speeding, residents also talked about areas without any streetlights, such as Punta Gorda, Indio Muerto, Salinas and Voluntario streets. City employees made notes to figure out the most-used walking paths, and perhaps find solutions that prioritize those.

Most residents said they walk much more than they bike, but residents mentioned cycling issues, including bicyclists riding without lights at night, cars opening their doors without looking for cyclists, and trucks and buses stopping in the bike lane.

In early April, the city will respond to the concerns and present possible solutions.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli 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.




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» on 02.03.13 @ 02:48 PM

Bad and discourteous driving happens all over Santa Barbara.

Advocates and interested parties here need to be ready and active to place projects like these in the city Public Works budget during the next few months of budget development, so these good ideas get paid for instead of exist only as a wish list of public markings on a map.

» on 02.03.13 @ 03:13 PM

Rodolfo Galindo, a crossing guard .... “Nobody respects me,”

Ok, here we go again. 

1st, let me remind you the organization Cars Are Basic did a complete survey and petition on the east side including residents and businesses almost 8 years ago.  The conclusion was that there needed to be “MORE” police traffic presence in the east side to enforce traffic laws and ticket offenders.

2nd, there were two native Santa Barbaran’s (both former Spanish instructors at SBHS) helping conduct the survey. 

3rd, Mayor Miller and her Council placed the 600 plus signature petition in the political waste basket.  Grant House ignored the effort since it went against the street narrowing and congestion causing plans of the old east side improvement association he headed.

4th, the then head of Traffic Planning, George Gerth, stated the requested additional traffic enforcement would most likely achieve much of the relief requested by the residents.

Yes folks I have property on the east side and signed the petition.

The current emotional atmosphere is being used to destroy badly needed circulation (read that as road capacity) to give credibility plans to increase housing density in a location unable to handle more cars on residential streets.

It should be interesting to see comments made by Mruillo, and the Hispanic Chamber over the needed law enforcement.

» on 02.03.13 @ 11:24 PM

It was a good effort. The group that I participated with yesterday urged greatly improved bicycle lanes or at least sharrows, especially around Franklin School, but not just there. Bicycling on Milpas is unsafe, we said, but so it is also on side streets.

I have lived in the lower east for about 15 years; have heard Grant House talk frequently about the defunct East Side Study Group - did not know he was the head of it; it hasn’t existed for years. He should know that increased density along Milpas is liable to be a traffic and safety disaster.

If it’s in the works, how can it be stopped?

» on 02.04.13 @ 11:44 AM

Biased push “polls” by the Cars-Are-Basically-Everything crowd are as valid and relevant as pseudonymous commenting at nooz websites.

Really.

» on 02.04.13 @ 04:03 PM

“Looking,”

To stop this, one has to stop voting for candidates that continue to push High Density Infill projects, and increase government owned and subsidized housing.  SB currently exceeds State mandated numbers.  Since you have lived there for 15 years you understand that housing without proper off street parking creates the on street parking and traffic count nightmares making bikes and walking difficult.  The high density advocates have had their way on the east side and are pushing hard on the west side.  The streets cannot handle the traffic or parking.  At the same time the City continues to remove capacity making the situation worse You get what you vote for.

“John,”

So what you are saying is; Santa Barbara natives, respected teachers, Spanish speakers, respected members of such organizations like the CPA, the Pearl Chase Society, and more were / are, nothing more then dupes of the vast right wing conspiracy? 

Funny you did not mention the push “polls” attempted by the SB Traffic Staff in the St. Francis plan, the Oak Park plan, or the issue of State and De la Vina where in each instance the city was forced to retract positions based upon invalidated “polls.” 

Example: Traffic personnel stated the De la Vina intersection was a dangerous high speed location.  When forced to produce facts it was and is the safest intersection for both pedestrians and autos on the entire north side, and the speeds are at or below speed limits.  SB Safe Streets hired a traffic engineering group (that also does contract work for the City) and they found the same conditions and numbers.

Example:  Gerth stated before Council upper De la Vina had a left turn accident problem and taking the 4 lanes to 2 would solve it and increase bike travel.  Public Documents presented to Council (produced by the Police Department) proved there were “no” supposed left turn accidents of the nature Gerth described and the City admitted the bike travel on the street has declined instead of increasing (again public documents presented to Council).

» on 02.04.13 @ 07:07 PM

Kudos to the City for getting serious about neighborhood transporation and safety issues since Sergio Romero was killed in a crosswalk last year.

Kudos also for prioritizing the meeting especially for East Side residents inputs,
even if it meant that reps for several do-good non-profits had to watch from the sidelines.

And for Councilwoman Murrillo making sure that language was not a major issue.

If the City can sustain this initiative, and translate it into on-the-ground
enhancements, rather than just public rhetoric, that would be amazing.

If the City can pull Caltrans and the CHP and SBPD deeper into the conversation
about working together to slow traffic down, and better enforce existing laws,
that would be huge, too.

» on 02.04.13 @ 07:55 PM

Good grief. People we live in a city. This is the kind of crap that happens when you lie to people about the conditions they live in because you your self live a lie. Santa Barbara is not some Podunk back woods small town. It hasn’t been for a century. But there are some who want it to be, believe it to be and refuse to acknowledge it isn’t. They build curb outs, bulb outs and roundabouts. They reduce road capacity and tell people if only we got rid of cars we could then enjoy the little town we want to be.

When it comes to safety the safety Nazis are invested in the suicide approach. Build elaborate, complicated methods to ensure people can sleep walk through life with out being injured while erecting a labyrinth of legal instruments to protect everyone from anything. The result? A dopy, sleepy, neutered population of nanny coddled adult babies who can’t look both ways while crossing a dark street in all black clothing while texting some idiotic crap to someone else.

The U.S. is the worst offender and California cities led by places like Santa Barbara the leaders in this behavior modification that leads to people being totally divorced from what’s going on around them. If you want safety, then PAY ATTENTION. No amount of expensive painting, walkway modifying, strobe light distractions will stop a 2 ton hurling hunk a metal from mowing you down. You have to LOOK, judge and react. Safety is personal and you have to be personally responsible for it.

All these meetings will do is spend money we don’t have to make people, too lazy to be responsible, lulled into a false sense of security, so when they walk in front of a vehicle driven by a driver so thoroughly distracted by all the safety lights and signage that they run them down.

» on 02.04.13 @ 10:42 PM

I agree, kudos, but for all, including those of us who put in our time on Saturday morning. I saw Councilmember Murillo there but it should be noted that the City had people doing the translations. And the groups were divided into those who were English-speaking and those who were Spanish-speaking.

...There are or can be issues with those who live in this city, partaking of its amenities, not least its schools, and don’t speak English despite all the free English language classes there are. However, it’s good that all ideas were welcomed and that the group representative and non-Eastside councilmembers were on the sidelines, not participating (except for non-Eastsider Murillo, apparently). Present there were also Bendy White and Frank Hotchkiss.

I think that the streets can handle the present capacity, with some issues at evening rush hour, but adding greater density will create serious difficulties. From what I’ve seen many households have several cars, my immediate neighbors on each side have 5 and 4; we two have two; and if the plan is to have only one parking space/unit, the streets will be even more congested.

» on 02.05.13 @ 12:24 AM

I agree with Really. It’s not just a little annoying to see the high-density advocates whine about congestion. Pack ‘em all in, replete with cars - what didja’ expect??? Mr. Adams is a little myopic due to his immersion in that camp and his marriage to a councilmember that needs to learn to actually be a councilmember, and not insert herself in to too many processes where she has no depth. There are better ways to get this job done, Cathy, than take Spanish lessons, try to assimilate and pretend to speak for people who need to empower themselves. I saw a lot of political muckety mucks looking good for cameras, and advocacy groups (one of whom just luvs high density and hates cars), but not as many neighbors as should have been there. Not sure where the city ‘advertised’ this, but kudos to the neighborhood-oriented types that worked to get people there. The city admittedly underfunded the Eastside for years, and now will try to remedy that with a tiny pool of CDBG funds that will in no way make up the serious lack of maintenance. All this will do is ease the bleeding, and after what happened with those stupid flashing yellow lights on Milpas, who trusts the city engineers to know what the best solutions are? Grant House was the biggest betrayer of the Eastside ever. Wonder when they’ll all wake up and start voting for people who actually have their interests at heart, instead of the latest Progressive-Dem-Pueblo annointees who always sell them under the bus?

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