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Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 4:37 pm | Fair 61º


Mission Street Completes Its Side Project

Bike lanes and a spruced up pedestrian area give the Highway 101 undercrossing a more user-friendly feel

Cyclists now have new bike lanes to take advantage of on busy Mission Street at the Highway 101 undercrossing, thanks to a completed project the city of Santa Barbara has had in the works for nearly a decade. 

A cyclist pedals through traffic at Mission Street on a new bike lane that was installed in the area at the Highway 101 undercrossing.
A cyclist pedals through traffic at Mission Street on a new bike lane that was installed in the area at the Highway 101 undercrossing. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

City officials, community members and cycling advocates gathered Monday to celebrate completion of the $1.5 million worth of service improvements for the area of Mission Street at Highway 101. In addition to bike lanes on each side of Mission, pedestrian areas got new ramps, wider sidewalks, more street lighting, traffic signal modifications, curbs, gutters and retaining walls.

The site has long been a source of irritation for local cyclists and pedestrians, and the improvements were welcomed by Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition president Ralph Fertig, who was present at the ribbon cutting. Fertig called the area one of “the scariest places for people on bicycles,” and said that adding the actual lanes made a “tremendous difference.”

“Before you were in the lane with all the cars and you hope they see you,” said Fertig, who expressed appreciation for the improved traffic signals, which can now detect the presence of bicycles.

A number of city officials attended the gathering, including Mayor Marty Blum and Council members Councilman Roger Horton, Councilman Grant House, Helene Schneider and Councilman Das Williams.

Gregg Hart of the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments said Santa Barbara was on the cutting edge making sure that pedestrians and bicycles have an equal share of the roadway. Funding for the project was administered through SBCAG from a federal transportation enhancement grant.

“About 10 years ago state law was changed to give a lot more authority to regional agencies, like SBCAG,” he said. “As a result, I think you see a lot more projects that are community oriented ... that are important to the people of Santa Barbara, rather than something that Sacramento thinks is appropriate for our community.”

While the bike lanes clearly make a difference at the highway undercrossing, cyclists riding toward State Street will continue to have little margin for error in the narrow and congested, four-lane stretch of Mission Street between Castillo and De la Vina streets.

The city-managed project was designed by MNS Engineers, constructed by Lash Construction and overseen by Penfield & Smith. The project was funded by six sources including the Regional Surface Transportation Program, Local Surface Transportation, Transportation Enhancement, Local Streets and Caltrans Agreement Funds.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).








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