Monday, March 19 , 2018, 2:43 am | Fair 41º


She Said, Z Said: Turn Downtown State Street into a Promenade

It's time for talking about walking. Besides, locals only drive there by accident

Z: You know what Santa Barbara needs?

She: Summer.

Z: Beyond that.

She: More cheap ethnic restaurants with that one perfect dish that makes your taste buds dance?

Z: Sure. But we also need to turn State Street into a pedestrian promenade.

She: OK. But wouldn’t all those people walking around in their special promenade clothing get run over by the cars?

Z: We’d close it off from Victoria to Haley streets. We would leave most if not all of the side streets open, like they do for the car show or the farmer’s market.

She: I was going to protest that I need my State Street to drive on, but it turns out that I don’t drive on State Street when I’m downtown.

Z: There’s no reason.

She: The only time I ever find myself driving there is purely by accident. I’m on State Street for some reason, and I forget to turn on to a side street before I get downtown.

Z: That’s also the only time I ever enjoy driving on State Street downtown, when I’m kind of spacey and don’t care how long it takes me to get to Paseo Nuevo.

She: So none of the locals would care if State Street was closed. We don’t use it as a real street already and people who do use it are still confused by all of those No Left Turn times.

Z: Plus, tourists aren’t exactly making long car trips down the eight-block section I’m talking about. It’s a beautiful area, and would be even better if we could enjoy the whole expanse for a stroll.

She: It seems like we’re closing it all the time anyhow. If there’s not a parade or a car show, then there’s a farmer’s market or a festival.

Z: And once it was closed permanently, it would be even easier to have more and more of those festivals and bands playing right in the center of town.

She: Plus, people wouldn’t complain about the traffic backing up because there would be only foot traffic.

Z: I can just hear the radio jingle, “This is Palminteri Is Primetime bringing you all foot traffic, all the time.”

She: Remember when we took the architectural tour of downtown, the guy told us that there used to be a central walking area through the middle of town. It was halfway between State Street and Anacapa Street, and wound through De la Guerra Plaza and El Paseo.

Z: Look at that. We’re advocating the retention of the city’s integrity. We’re historical preservationists.

She: I don’t really think leaving a dish in the sink for three weeks makes us historical preservationists.

Z: Still it would be cool to shut down State Street and plant some more trees. It also seems like closing off the street would be great for businesses. I know that the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica totally revitalized that area.

She: Do we own property downtown or something? Have you been holding out on me?

Z: No.

She: Then why the interest in this?

Z: Really, I just want more al fresco dining options.

She: Hmm. I love sitting outside but it always baffles me that the prime seating in most downtown Santa Barbara restaurants involves watching the traffic drive by.

Z: Exactly. If we close down the street, then restaurants could stick a bunch of tables all over the sidewalk, creating a great place for people watching and an even more vibrant nighttime scene.

She: Ah. I get it now. You want a beer garden.

Z: I’m just saying. Would it be so terrible if there were some outside dining options where cars weren’t driving by you all the time? And maybe there was a little beer available?

She: Don’t forget the margaritas. And those warm sunny nights that we usually have in the summer. Those would be good to have again. I bet we could get the city to shut down State Street in exchange for some warm summer nights.

Z: Yes, dear.

— What do you think about State Street Promenade? Share your thoughts with She and Z by e-mailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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