The State Street Master Plan Process

Transforming Downtown Santa Barbara

In the heart of Santa Barbara lies State Street, a vibrant corridor that has undergone significant changes, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amidst this transformation, the City of Santa Barbara has embarked on a visionary journey with the State Street Master Plan, CREATESTATE.

This comprehensive initiative aims to shape the future of downtown Santa Barbara over the next 20-30 years, ensuring it reflects the community’s values, promotes vibrancy, and prioritizes safety.

Let’s take a closer look at the State Street Master Plan and what it involves.

The CREATESTATE State Street Master Plan

Understanding the Vision

The State Street Master Plan builds upon the momentum generated by AIASB 2020 Charrette and the temporary closure of an eight-block stretch of State Street during the pandemic.

These events sparked discussions about the future of downtown and laid the groundwork for long-term revitalization efforts.

At its core, the master plan seeks to transform State Street into a lively urban space that caters to the needs of residents, businesses, and visitors alike.

Central to the State Street Master Plan is robust community engagement

The city has actively sought input from Santa Barbara residents through various channels, including surveys, design workshops, and on-street outreach experiences.

Over 6,000 individuals participated in the outreach efforts, underscoring the community’s commitment to shaping the future of downtown.

State Street Master Plan

Exploring the Project Area

State Street Master Plan Map of Santa Barbara

Phases of the Master Plan: A Timeline

Visioning Phase (Fall 2022 - January 2023)

The journey began with the visioning phase, where the community’s aspirations for State Street were articulated. Through extensive outreach efforts, including surveys and interactive experiences, residents expressed a desire for a pedestrian-friendly promenade, enhanced activities, and a vibrant streetscape.

Urban Design Framework (Spring 2023)

Building upon the visioning phase, the urban design framework delved into the specifics of transforming State Street. Consultants and city staff worked collaboratively to develop preliminary design concepts that align with the community’s vision and values.

Preliminary Concepts (Summer/Fall 2023)

During this phase, preliminary and preferred concepts for State Street were refined based on community feedback. Discussions centered around key elements such as pedestrian amenities, bicycle infrastructure, and streetscape enhancements.

General Update and Public Draft Plan (Spring/Summer 2024)

On March 18, 2024, the State Street Advisory Committee will meet to receive an update on the State Street Master Plan process and timeline from staff. Additionally, staff and a volunteer architect group will present updates to some of the graphic elements for the Master Plan and lead a conversation around the importance of the paseo network.

Later in the late Spring to early Summer, the City team will release a comprehensive Draft Master Plan. The State Street Advisory Committee will meet again at this time, and the public will have numerous opportunities to provide comments and feedback. The Draft Plan will be available for public review for approximately two months.

State Street Master Plan

Community Preferences

Survey results revealed overwhelming support for a car-free State Street, dedicated bike paths, and a pedestrian-friendly layout. Residents expressed a desire for a family-friendly environment with increased activities, particularly in the evenings.

Implementation Considerations

While the community embraces the vision for State Street, questions remain about the implementation of bike and transit infrastructure on parallel and cross streets, as well as parking impacts. City staff and consultants are actively addressing these concerns to ensure a smooth transition to the revitalized State Street.

What’s Next

As the State Street Master Plan progresses, Santa Barbara residents can expect continued engagement opportunities as the vision for a revitalized, vibrant, and inclusive downtown Santa Barbara evolves.

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