Thursday, March 25, 2010

Terrible Traffic Through West Downtown

Talk about a cluster-you-know-what. Some car company got a permit to close off Chapala to do a commercial shoot. Unfortunately, with Haley and De La Vina closed off for bridge construction for the next year, Chapala is now the new main artery for West Downtown traffic heading north. In closing off Chapala, the city stuck the entire artery grid for Haley / De La Vina / Chapala over to Bath and Cottage Grove. Worse, travelers down Cottage Grove are forced to merge with Bath off-ramp highway traffic. The result was a total traffic bog. This is the corner of De La Vina and Cottage Grove at 8:30:

It was made worse by the misleading detour signs directing traffic to Chapala to get around the Haley / De La Vina closure. This is looking north up De La Vina from Gutierrez - the road is closed for the Haley St / De La Vina bridge construction.
Those drivers found themselves unable to turn up Chapala, and then had to swing a u-turn to head back west down Gutierrez, the road they had just come down. Here's a sign telling Eastbound traffic on Gutierrez to turn left on Chapala. This is the detour for traffic that would normally go up De La Vina, but can't due to the Haley St closure. Doh! They can't turn left as usual - there's a commercial shoot and the road is blocked.

The only option was to do a u-turn and go back down gridlocked Gutierrez. That's if the Eastbound traffic, having crawled over from past State, would let a driver in. Two main arteries: Chapala and De La Vina / Haley had all been shunted over to Cottage Grove and Bath, which are tiny local streets completely unable to offload that traffic volume.
By 9:00 AM the city had started to move, after 2 hours of gridlock. Access to Gutierrez has now been stopped at State.

And to top it all off, the crew shooting the car commercial didn't want to unveil the big new car...because they had press and traffic gawkers!!!! Oh darn...those people in the city permitting department didn't think too hard before issuing this one, did they????
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Friday, March 12, 2010

West Downtown Fire

Christina Pizarro video
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-West Downtown, Santa Barbara
An electrical fire erupted on the 100 block of West Haley Street and lit a swaying palm on fire Tuesday afternoon. As the winds blew, City Fire trucks were immediately on scene to suppress the flames before they fanned out to neighboring buildings. 
Many residents at the scene expressed high concern since winds were at an all time high for this time of year. Luckily, no homes were affected by this fire.