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On the Docket: A Roundabout for the Intersection of Cliff Drive and Las Positas

Today, the Santa Barbara City Council will discuss and consider a roundabout for the intersection of Cliff Drive and Las Positas. The alternative option “to improve traffic operations at the Intersection”, would be the installation of a traffic light, which would cost over $1 million. A roundabout would cost a staggering $1.9 million, according to the Agenda.

34 Responses to “On the Docket: A Roundabout for the Intersection of Cliff Drive and Las Positas”

  1. el_smurfo

    Hmmn…twice the cost for half the usability…I wonder which one they will choose? For $1M I will personally direct traffic for the next 10 years and won’t even ask for a pension.

  2. Say No to Round_Abouts

    The round-about on Milpas is a accident waiting to happen. What is wrong with the 3 stop signs at the bottom of Cliff? Live on the Mesa and have never seen a problem. Stop fixing what isn’t broke just cause the money is there.

    • The Milpas Round-About is excellent or will be when the freeway underpass is finally completed. It’s amazing how people are so ignorant in using it, however. As one who lives in the general area, I think it’s a great improvement over the stop lights of the past. Can’t speak to the Las Positas one, though, but maybe it should wait until they decide or not to build Veronica Meadows and to expand the disabled housing there. It’s one of the last open spaces, the “lungs” of SB and it will be a shame if it’s developed but it begins to look to be so. If it is developed, a roundabout may be necessary.

  3. Anonymous

    Noooooooooooo!!!!! Funny they didn’t introduce this when the anti-roundabout Council Member Michael Self was still there. Ah, but times have changed again, with Self’s replacement now seated on the Transportation Committee–where her Pritchett just resigned. Think there’s not politics in the timing of this vital project?

  4. Oversees

    This is a perfect place for a round-about. Wish people would get over their resistance. These work everywhere in the world. Bulb-outs do not.

  5. World Traveler

    Roundabouts work great in other communities, cities and countries. I don’t have an issue navigating them as others do not. That said, I don’t see a need for one at Cliff Drive and Las Positas. I travel it often in the 5PM hour and it’s not as bad as Carillo and 101.
    Why spend the money?

    • Anonymous

      But there are some people who just CANT navigate them.

  6. I lived 16 years in England, and now 3 years in Spain, where we have very few stop lights and tons of roundabout. They are very civilized and keep the traffic calm and flowing. Being a SB local, I wasn’t used to them when I moved to England and had to learn how to correctly use them – and that was driving on the left too! In Spain we drive on the right like in Calif. I go back and forth between the 2 countries in my car several times a year and amazingly have no problems switching. Roundabouts are brilliant, and I urge Californians to try more of them – but also to learn HOW to use them correctly.

  7. Anonymous

    last week I ended up behind a driver who was backing up in the Montecito roundabout on Coast Village Road, after failing to get out of it in the proper place. Roundabouts may work all over the world, but they don’t seem to work here.

  8. Las Positas and Cliff is one of the most user friendly and non-impacted intersections in Santa Barbara ! At “rush hour” there is sometimes a 5 minute or 10 minute max ‘backup’ but c’mon- are we in that big of a hurry? I get the impression they’re anticipating a LOT more traffic on Las Positas…does the Planning Dept know something we don’t? Spend the money somewhere else, or better yet, don’t spend it at all !

    • Yes. Thanks to Michael Towbes, Janet Wolf and a puppet county planning department, they are going to build the *shinola* (sp?) out of Goleta Valley. The drafted plan is ready to be voted on, and they have completely ignored community input. The city is getting ready to handle the traffic that pours in from that direction, as well as anything they intend to force on other city neighborhoods nearby.

      • Goleta Jim

        The round abouts proposed for Goleta get very little traffic. Something is very fishy there. This kind of makes sense at a 3 way stop.

  9. Anonymous

    The Self angle is interesting. As soon as a majority is in place traffic impediments become the citys top priority!

  10. Like Pamela implied, if we could only learn to use them, they are simply better, keeping traffic moving, less idling, people get to their destinations faster, no electricity needed! The more there are, the quicker people will learn. That said, that is a lot of money, unless there are problems there currently, e.g. a 5-10 minute backup!

  11. Towbes gets a LOT of praise for his philanthropy and right fully so but he’s done more to “ruin” Santa Barbara than anyone in the regions history. The cash donations are just a cover to over develop and pour cement on this once prestine and healing land.

  12. Goose Egg

    People who can’t navigate roundabouts shouldn’t be driving. Or they need to put down their cell phone.

  13. SBBeachcomber

    I missed the part of the article that says where this 1.9 million is coming from. Any one know?

  14. A roundup @ this location is a great idea but I guess they want it to look like the coast village one. They should be able to achieve a good result without all the fancy landscaping and rock work. 1.9 mil. sounds slightly waco

  15. Realitybasedinsb

    Wow some commenters here are waaaayyyyy off base…..

  16. Anonymous

    Pritchett/Murillo has been the biggest advocate for bulbouts for years. Blind if you didn’t see this coming.

    • Anonymous

      But, I thought she just cared about the libraries, and children, and my prosperity. At least that’s what she said. Oh, and they voted to move ahead with the design phase. Big surprise there.

  17. They just paint the roundabouts on the pavement everywhere else. A million bucks to do this here? Bring on those who were ready to paint the infamous Blue Line, and see if they can cut a better deal.

  18. Quid Pro Quo

    Here is the deal: eliminate one employee in the city Transportation Department for every bulb-out, since after their installation the city will have become so much safer that we will no longer need any more traffic planners.

  19. Slow, bulbous movers need extra accomodation when crossing streets.

  20. Modern roundabouts are the safest intersection in the world. Visit for FAQs and safety facts.
    If you want to see the difference between a traffic circle, a rotary (UK roundabout) and a modern roundabout, search to see pictures. has a video about modern roundabouts that is mostly accurate ( ).

    The first cost of any two choices is a poor way to compare. Life-cycle cost is the best (present value of future costs, a.k.a. net present value). When comparing modern roundabouts to signals for a 20-year life cycle (the standard period), modern roundabouts usually cost us much less. Costs to compare include: first cost (design/land/construction), operation and maintenance (electricity, re-striping, etc.), crash reduction, daily delay (what’s your time worth?), daily fuel consumption, pollution (generated), area insurance rates (this costs more where it is less safe to drive). Each of these things, and others, can be estimated for any two choices and everyone near or using the project area will pay some portion of all of these costs.

    It’s likely that most of the ‘first costs’ identified relate to utility/sidewalk work and right of way. $1M is quite a lot for a signal to begin with.

    • The problem with this solution is that there is no problem in the first place! That intersection works perfectly well the way it is now. A traffic light would definitely slow it down, and a roundabout is completely unnecessary.

  21. Anonymous

    I am pro-roundabouts — they are great, especially if drivers have average intelligence and can navigate them. This seems like a logical place for one.

  22. Maryann Cassidy

    I agree with Kelly. The only issue at this intersection is rush-hour traffic heading south on Las Positas, one direction. The only way a roundabout would reduce the resulting congestion is if cars drove through it at close to the Las Positas speed limit, 55, not possible. The current 3-way stop is the best possible choice to move traffic. Pouring $$$ on it will make it worse – don’t fix it – it ain’t broke. 35 years on the Mesa, use this intersection daily.