The Elephant on the 1200 Block of Coast Village Road

By Montecito Journal   |   April 12, 2022

Have you ever wondered why you can’t find a parking space on Coast Village Road? Coast Village Road is not downtown Santa Barbara. Unlike downtown, Coast Village Road does not have public parking structures and has suffered from a parking shortage well before the pandemic. So, it should come as no surprise that removing 23% of the available public street parking, to build temporary outdoor parklets, to help some restaurants through the indoor closure phase of the pandemic, would have a significant negative impact on the parking problem, business, and public safety.

The parking problem is compounded exponentially when you consider the fact that the majority of these parklets are overbuilt, some as much as 60% in violation of the sizing guidelines under ordinance #5944. This added illegal capacity generates more space for customers of course, which in turn necessitates the need for more staff and support personnel of all kinds, all of which require more parking, not less. These violations have been known to the city of Santa Barbara since the parklets were first constructed nearly two years ago, yet nothing has been done to correct them. The problem is so bad today that employees and business owners have run out of parking on Coast Village Circle where parking was once always available. When you add to this the fact that the city does not have the parking enforcement resources to enforce current parking laws – customers, businesses, and public safety suffer.

The public safety issues these overbuilt parklets create are many. Alleys, fire lanes, bike lanes, sidewalks, and driveways are being blocked; cars are double- and triple-parked on a daily basis. Recently (March 5, 2022), an automobile accident resulting in serious damage occurred on the 1200 block of Coast Village Road when three double-parked restaurant cars were struck by a motorist (see SBPD report #22-9191 for details). Bicycles are constantly being forced from established bike lanes and into traffic due to overbuilt parklets extending eight feet past the maximum allowed. It is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed.

Originally these outdoor parklets were due to expire on June 15, 2021 when full indoor dining was resumed, but were later extended to March 9, 2022. Did you know that the Santa Barbara City Council has voted to extend them for an additional two years? While the situation downtown may justify some sort of extension, it clearly does not on Coast Village Road where there is only street parking available to the public. 

Restaurants with parklets on Coast Village Road have more than recouped their losses due to previous extensions and additional illegal capacity they have benefitted from to this point. Each day, moving forward these select few restaurants, 8% of the total businesses on Coast Village Road, are now profiting at the direct expense of the 92% of businesses without them, some of which are restaurants themselves. Extending the use of public parking on Coast Village Road to a handful of restaurants for two more years is unnecessary, inequitable, and unsafe. If you haven’t seen the elephant on the 1200 block of Coast Village Road, this may be because he is hiding under one of the Circus Vargas-like tents.


Concerned Retailers of Coast
Village Road

(Names withheld upon request)

This Bear’s Reading

Carlos, The Bear, was upset that he missed a poetry event at the Montecito Library.  A Poet Laureate was to read and discuss the artform. Carlos loves poetry and he knew he blew it. He emailed Kim, the head librarian, and apologized for not being there. He had forgotten about a project he needed to finish. Carlos wants you to know the little Montecito Library has much to offer so you won’t miss out!

Not only are there books, videos, and audio books to check out, but there are also live-in-person activities as well, including a preschool children’s story-time group that meets on Tuesdays between 9 and 10:30 am for ages 0 – 5 years, a poetry group that meets on Tuesdays, an Italian conversation group that meets on Thursdays, and much more. There is something for everyone!

For more information, contact:

Kim Crail, Senior Librarian
(805) 969-5063

Or stop in, say hello, and pick up a book to read:

1469 East Valley Road, right across the street from Village Hardware

The Montecito Library – a safe, comfortable, and fun place to browse for a book and learn.

Michael Edwards  


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