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questions re: moving to Santa Barbara & traffic

Santa Barbara...
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questions re: moving to Santa Barbara & traffic

Hi, I'm moving to the Santa Barbara area this summer and need some help! I'll be working in SB, and my fiance will be going to school at UCSB. We have a dog and need to find a pet friendly rental, these seem hard to come by in Santa Barbara, or with a reasonable commute (45 min. or less?). How long is the commute from Ventura, and also from Santa Ynez or Buellton? Also, I am a nurse, working nights, so I will be driving out of SB in the morning- will I be against the flow of traffic for either of these locations? And how bad would it be for my fiance, going into Goleta?

Thanks in advance for ANY help you could give me on this topic! It's very difficult to pick a place to live knowing nothing about the practical issues of the area!

Santa Barbara...
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1. Re: questions re: moving to Santa Barbara & traffic

I live in downtown Santa Barbara and my job is only 4 miles away at the County Complex near Turnpike Rd, so I don't have much of a commute problem. But I will tell you that for me there is a minor jam up at 7:50 AM between Las Positas Rd and La Cumbre Rd. I think it is because of the traffic that enters the road in this section, and the somewhat blind curves.

My fiancée is a nurse at Goleta Valley Hospital (a branch of Cottage Hospital), and we just moved with our cat.

I have some experience for you, but I want to go out and play now, so I'll revisit this post later.

Santa Barbara...
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2. Re: questions re: moving to Santa Barbara & traffic

Thanks, any further information you could give would be great!

Santa Barbara...
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3. Re: questions re: moving to Santa Barbara & traffic

This morning, traffic was very smooth for my 3 mile commute to work. A bit unusual, but I think it reflects that the morning traffic jams are usually short lived and not very lengthy distance-wise, at least in my neighborhood.

Once again I don't have to commute the distances you asked about, so I don't have direct, regular experience, but I do have to travel between these cities frequently, but usually at non-commute times. I think Fridays, esp. holiday weekends, and the commute hour are the worst and it will depend on which direction you are headed.

Traffic can be a problem going south from UCSB to La Conchita. From UCSB traffic sometimes slows down after getting off of Ward Memorial Blvd, and if it's a bad day, will be slow all the way to the Milpas St. exit and beyond to La Conchita. This generally only occurs on Fridays, esp holiday weekends, during the commute times - 5 PM to 6 PM - or when there are accidents. Otherwise, it might more regularly slow down at the Milpas St exit because that is where three lanes narrow to two.

So, on a good day, you should be able to go from Goleta to Ventura in 40 - 45 minutes. On a bad day, well, that's too hard for me to predict.

But, the good news is, I don't think the traffic is that bad going in any other direction. North from Ventura to Goleta should be pretty good, esp. since you & the hubby might not be driving during commute hour. But maybe there is a TA out there who does the commute who knows better? Nearly all of the regular co-workers in my office live in Santa Barbara or Goleta. That could be a clue for you. None live in Ventura. One lives in Solvang. One lives in Lompoc.

We have north county offices in my department. All the staff live locally by their offices. We're pretty settled and lucky in that respect.

Interestingly enough, Solvang (Santa Ynez), Buellton, and Ventura are all roughly the same distance from UCSB. Drive time is 40 minutes, ± 5 minutes, between these cities, but not counting parking and finding a seat. The most crowded commute, I think, will be to and from Ventura.

The other good news is that I don't think our traffic jams are nearly as bad, time-, distance-, or frequency-wise, as those that occur in Los Angeles.

I'll come back to make more comments later...

Santa Barbara...
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4. Re: questions re: moving to Santa Barbara & traffic

A co-worker reminded me that this is spring break week, which probably accounts for the lighter traffic. She also confirmed my thoughts about traffic in Santa Barbara County - that the worst is between Ventura and Santa Barbara, esp going south. That everywhere else is not that bad.

If you can, try to find a place to live in Santa Barbara or Goleta. Solvang (Santa Ynez) and Buellton, are rather small towns without a whole lot to do, and you'll want the variety that a larger city will give you. Spending two hours a day commuting is not fun. Santa Barbara's downtown is a vibrant area that is fun for a walk.

A dog is going to make it pretty tough to find a rental. A large dog will be hard. Small dogs are easier. Cats are easiest. One thought is that you might have to take what you can get and make a base while you search for a better place to live. I did see dogs living at an apartment complex called Castillo Gardens across from where I formerly lived on Castillo St. I'll go by and see if I can find a sign indicating the management company.

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5. Re: questions re: moving to Santa Barbara & traffic

I was right. Castillo Gardens at 1617 and 1623 Castillo St in Santa Barbara accepts dogs. I heard an ankle biter yapping inside. It is a plain apartment building, but not a dump as far I could tell. I didn't see much yard space. There was a guy moving out. I asked him who manages the building and he said "Community Investments." Unfortunately, I couldn't find "Community Investments" on the internet or in the phone book.

Well, good luck.

Lompoc, California
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6. Re: questions re: moving to Santa Barbara & traffic

Commuting can be a problem on the Central Coast. As gnachd mentioned, heading from SB to Ventura, which should be 20 minutes, can take an hour or more. There is only one road, HWY 101, between the two, as the mountains close down almost to the sea at the Rincon/La Conchita area. It just takes one auto accident (or mudslide) to shut down the road.

Lompoc is 50-55 minutes north. As gnachd mentioned, Santa Ynez, Solvang, Buellton, and Los Olivos are 40 to 45 minutes north, Los Alamos about 45 to 50 and Santa Maria about 1 hour. Due to the fact that the federal Los Padres National Forest takes up most of the county, thats about all there is to towns in the county.

Solvang tends to be very "touristy", Santa Ynez, very "horsey", Los Olivos full of wine shops and art galleries--- all are fairly expensive to live in-- but generally not as much as SB. Lompoc has probably the best housing values in the county. Santa Maria is overbuilt, but is pretty far for a commute. Depending on your work hours, there are several "Clean Air Express" buses hauling commuters from Lompoc/Buellton to SB. The good news is that, unlike Ventura where you have only Hwy 101 to use to get past the La Conchita chokepoint to get to SB, from the North county you can generally use Hwy 101/Hwy 1 through gaviota Pass or detour onto Hwy 154 through San Marcos Pass if there is a problem with Hwy 101.

7. Re: questions re: moving to Santa Barbara & traffic

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