They say that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, but good intentions – and money – will pave the roads of Isla Vista.
Beginning this summer, Santa Barbara County will spend close to $2 million on Isla Vista improvements: to re-pave streets, build sidewalks and refurbish beach access ways. In April 2000, the County Board of Supervisors approved approximately $1.1 million from their 2000-2001 budget for the resurfacing of 18 I.V. thoroughfares including the majority of the 6600-6800 blocks, the Embarcadero loop and El Colegio Road. The improvements are slated for completion before July 2002. On June 19, 2001, the board approved another $787,000 to repave the remaining seven roads, repair and add sidewalks, rebuild beach access ways and fix plumbing problems on Sueno Road.
Mark Chaconas, Third District Supervisor Gail Marshall’s executive assistant, said the board also approved $816,000 from the 2001-2002 budget for the resurfacing of Storke Road from Phelps Road to El Colegio.
“Storke is an area we didn’t finish before,” he said. “Between the roads we’re doing this year and [the other seven], we’ll be completing the rest of the I.V. streets within this funding cycle. … Gail wanted to make sure there was a significant amount of money going into sidewalks as well.”
Of the $787,000 approved this year, $100,000 will be appropriated to beach accesses.
“The problem is that the old ones are made with wood,” Chaconas said. “We’re going to do the new one’s with stainless steel, which doesn’t corrode, and will have holes to allow the water to pass through.”
The streets funded in 2000 – including Del Playa Drive, Camino Pescadero and Camino Corto – which have not yet been worked on, will be resurfaced as the Public Works Dept. schedule allows.
“The $1.1 million from last year – those contracts are just now on the streets. Sabado Tarde Road is done, and the Embarcaderos are done. The crews are coming down the South Coast and picking up streets [to resurface],” Chaconas said.
Scott McGolpin, Deputy Director of Transportation, said the majority of the I.V. street repairs will consist of “overlays” of about two inches of asphalt on the current surfaces, an easy repair.
“The board of supervisors decides which roads get resurfaced. They don’t do a ‘worst first’ philosophy; they choose the roads they think they can save doing minimal repairs,” he said.
According to McGolpin, the roads that are re-paved will be closed off for one day.
“We’ll post ‘No Parking’ signs days in advance,” he said. “When we paved Sabado [Tarde] there were about 80 cars towed. Unfortunately, in I.V., people park their cars and don’t come back for a couple days. Hopefully, people will keep an eye on their cars and what streets are going to be paved.”
Chaconas said this year’s funding was appropriated entirely out of county money, while last year the board used both state and local allocations.
“The bottom line is we’re getting a lot of roads done because we haven’t had natural disasters. … We’re finally out of that storm system of the early nineties and able to use funds on resurfacing roads instead of for emergency projects,” he said. “Gail has consistently focused on doing good things in Isla Vista, and this is one of the ways she’s able to make a positive influence.”