Popular downtown parking site would be replaced if new Police Station goes through

Over 200 drivers use it on weekdays

The Cota Street commuter parking lot is a targeted site for the new Santa Barbara Police station.  (John Palminteri /

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - If a proposed site for a new Santa Barbara Police station goes through, downtown commuter parking would be impacted.

The location is the Cota Street lot on the corner of Santa Barbara Street.  It is now going to be scrutinized in an environmental review as part of the process that could lead to a permanent new police command headquarters.

It is the preferred site by a study committee in part because it is a lot owned by the city, and it has the right size for the downtown project.

"It's just going to be harder to get to work on time basically," said John Hampton, a worker who parks there regularly.

Many employees nearby have permits to park during the day in the lot, and most have them paid by their employers.
At Tuesday's Santa Barbara City Council meeting,  those who sell and shop at the Saturday Farmers' Market were very outspoken against losing the site.

During the week, however, it's a commuter and used by more than 200 drivers.

Those who spoke to NewsChannel 3 said they're not against a new police station,  "except for the fact that the ones who rely on parking down here,  without getting ticketed and run and change spots are going to be screwed.  I don't think they have thought it through thoroughly enough to have a plan B for all of us that use this park"

For most of the workers who park in the lot,  it takes five minutes or less to walk to work.

"If this were to be, it would be a lot longer to walk to work that is for sure ," said Leslie Drewry who was aware, the lot could go away.

It's also highly sought after for those with permits.

"There are days where we wind up, the ones with passes, still  wind up circling,"  said Hampton.

Nearby there's a multi-story parking structure that had about two levels of available space during the middle of the day.
Drewry said that wasn't her first choice.  "I hate the parking structure, it takes so long to get in and out of."

For workers on a tight schedule  or with a limited break,  the parking structure to them,  is not convenient.

Rob Beedle said, "Yea I wouldn't want to park there."    He has been delayed by a line of cars or drivers who were not leaving efficiently.   "People don't have their money ready,  they don't have their card ready so it is a process."

The issue of commuter parking, or  replacement parking  will be part of the study now underway for the proposed police station.

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