Coast Village Traffic Update
At a Coast Village Association (CVA) Board meeting in September, the board was given an update on several traffic initiatives along Coast Village Road.
The CVA’s Traffic & Safety Committee has been working with City engineers to increase the flow of traffic on Coast Village Road, while making it a safer place for both drivers and pedestrians. Although the traffic congestion along Coast Village Road and Coast Village Circle slightly decreased at the end of the summer, residents and businesses are now contending with a four-month project to repair the bridge rails on Olive Mill Road, which has impacted traffic and detoured drivers into the nearby Danielson neighborhood.
Earlier this year, the committee, chaired by Thorn Robertson, spearheaded a project to install temporary Stop signs on Coast Village Road at both ends of Coast Village Circle. Robertson announced at the meeting that the Stop signs will most likely be installed permanently, as City reps are currently fine-tuning the permanent location of the signs. The now four-way stop at Hermosillo/Coast Village Circle/Coast Village Road needs some revision, as the location of the Stop sign on Coast Village Road traveling westbound is not as prominent as City reps would like to see.
“They are formulating a plan for the Stop sign to make it more visible for drivers,” Robertson said. One idea is to build out a small median to place a Stop sign, so drivers would see it on the driver’s side of the vehicle instead of on the passenger side (in front of Montecito Bank & Trust). Once that plan is finalized, the signs will be made permanent on both ends of the street, along with two new Stop signs that have been installed within the parking aisles.
Another initiative is the addition of a lighted, flashing crosswalk signal in the mid-block of 1100 Coast Village Road. The crosswalk, which spans the length of Coast Village between Villa Fontana and the former Silverhorn building, is the only crosswalk on the street without a Stop sign. “It’s definitely a safety concern,” Robertson said. City reps, including transportation engineer Derrick Bailey, are cognizant about the aesthetics and the semi-rural community of Montecito but agreed the crosswalk is a safety concern. “The data supports that the lighting and signage improves pedestrian safety, which is the ultimate goal,” Robertson said. “We are seeing drivers speed through that area, and it’s an issue.”
Cars speeding through the parking aisle on Coast Village Road also remains an issue, though the orange k-rail located in front of Renaud’s Bakery has been a deterrent. The committee, along with the CVA’s Beautification Committee, are in the process of designing a more aesthetically pleasing alternative to the k-rail. With the help of business owner Jeff Menelli and local landscape architect Kris Kimpel, the Beautification Committee is working with the City of Santa Barbara to design planter boxes containing fruit trees to replace the k-rail. The planter boxes would be movable, so they can be used as barricades during special events on the street. The design of the planter boxes will require City approval. There is also discussion about revamping the current speed bumps in the parking aisle, and potentially adding more.
Moving forward, the Traffic & Safety Committee hopes to get better signage along Cabrillo Boulevard and Highway 101 to help deter drivers from using Coast Village Road as alternative southbound route. “Until the third lane of the freeway is constructed and the southbound entrance is reinstalled at Cabrillo, traffic is going to be an issue here,” Robertson said. “Right now, the signage is minimal and it isn’t enough.”
The Olive Mill Road bridgework is expected to be finished by the end of the year. There is currently one-way traffic over the bridge in a northerly direction toward Coast Village Road from the beach. Drivers traveling to Butterfly Beach from Coast Village Road are directed to enter the southbound freeway, exit at San Ysidro, and detoured onto South Jameson and Danielson to Olive Mill. Northbound truck traffic on Highway 101 is encouraged to use the Milpas Street exit before returning southbound and exiting at Olive Mill Road/Spring Road.
For more information, visit www.coastvillageroad.com.