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Re: Santa Barbara County - Update: The End.

Started by RickD, March 12, 2010, 07:09:13 AM

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Welcome to Santa Barbara County!


This is my fictional County of Santa Barbara located in an alternate universe USA. It is in no way a recreation of the actual Santa Barbara. It is just the map of Santa Barbara by blade2k5, available on the LEX. I am really unimaginative when it comes to making up names so I decided to use some of the actual ones.

I am also not a big storyteller. If you expect an extensive storyline, this is the wrong place to be. At first this will probably be more of a showcase for my creations. But I will try to mix in some background information and maybe some short stories.
I was long thinking about how to start but I decided to just get going and see how it develops. So please bear with me while I try to improve my MDing skills learning by doing style.  ;)

Finally I would like to encourage you to criticize me. There is absolutely no need for false politeness. If you like something then tell me, if you do not like it tell me also! Criticism is a good way to improve my skills and get new ideas.


Santa Barbara has long been a rural region. The countryside was dominated by huge apple and orange plantations. But in the mid 20th century things began to change rapidly. It all started with the completion of Interstate 5 from LA to San Francisco through Santa Barbara County. Suddenly the once remote region was easily and quickly accessible by car. The beautiful countryside and low land price attracted many people from the big cities that where fed up with city life or simply could not afford building their house there.
Within 20 years the face of the region changed forever. More and more plantations where built over with suburban sprawl. Nowadays only a few signs of the regions rural past remain. Almost everything was swallowed by greedy real estate brokers.

This is the pessimistic view. On the other hand Santa Barbara has become a vibrant and exciting city. It is a great place to live. With good job opportunities and affordable housing in the suburbs.
And there are so many exciting things to do in your free time. You have the Pacific Ocean coast with its beaches, warm climate and great waves to surf. Downtown Santa Barbara is known for its (sometimes) excessive and diverse night life.

I will show and tell you more about the different aspects of the city in the course of this MD.

But what is an MD without pictures? First let me show you the unbuilt region. This is where I started about a year ago:

And this is where I am now:

Click here for full size

You can see that I already built very much before I decided to start this MD. I am sorry that I can not show you how the region developed. I did not do any Screenshots. But there is plenty of space left to build on (and so many things to fix  ::) )

Ok, that's it for the first post. Please comment!  :)
My name is Raphael.
Visit my MD: Empire Bay (My old MD: Santa Barbara County)


Hello RickD,
Very nice map and regional shoots. 
You may not be able to show us how the region was built but I would sure be happy if you showed us lots of close up shoots of what you already have done. ;)

Robin  :thumbsup:
Call me Robin, please.


Nice start  :thumbsup:, looking forward to seeing how this develops...


Wow, Raphael.

You've created some great work on a very nice region. I do like the look that your terrain mod gives to the map, and the plop water rivers are also a really good touch. The large city you've developed near the coast seems excellent. I, like Robin, would like to see some close ups.



Very nice, I like the terrain mod you switched to!  Looking forward to seeing a closer look at what you've built so far!


Well there is definitely no false politeness when I see that is a great region shot. My favorite part about it is the CBD that seems to have developed so naturally. It must be lovely sitting on top of that mountain looking out onto the sea.


Well, I will have to stop by and see what you've done with this region, having lived in Santa Barbara for most of my teenage years and into my early adulthood.  I gave serious thought to developing an SB region, too, last year but instead did San Francisco.

Good thing, too, that you made it clear this is an "alternative universe" your SB is in, otherwise I'd have to correct your statement concerning Interstate 5, which does NOT go through SB...US 101 does, though.  And the snow covered hills?  Hmmm, only in an alternative universe!

I'd love to see some detail pics of what you have done so far.



The map looks excellent, and I look forward to see some shots of your work.


Brilliant work and excellent topography!! Hope to see some more!
Check out a journey through Heavenshire over on Simtropolis: http://www.simtropolis.com/cityjournals/?p=toc&id=716


Looking forward to seeing what you've done!

             -Jordan :thumbsup:
I'm the one who jumped across the Grand Canyon... and lived.


Your region looks really great! Looking forward to more from it... Great start. :thumbsup:

Tomas Neto

Very nice region, and great start!!!  :thumbsup:



My first comment! Thanks! Credits for the map go to blade2k5, the map making genius.

Thanks mate. I hope you keep following my MD.

Thanks. I hesitated to show the region view  because it is far from finished. I still have to connect all those rivers. I just roughly plopped them down so that i do not forget to leave space for them. It will probably take some time till I will show close ups of the rivers. I haven't done any detailing yet.

I switched the Terrain Mod recently. I just felt it looks better for this region.

Thank you. You know, initially I intended the region to be much closer to the real Santa Barbara without high rises. But one night I got carried away and developed a CBD. I decided to keep it because I like how it turned out. I still do not want those mega skyscrapers, though.

Welcome to my MD. Maybe it was a mistake to use the actual name. It might lead to confusion for people that did not read the introduction. I will try to explain the differences to reality in my future updates. But I can not do a recreation. I just need my artistic freedom.

Thanks for visiting my MD.

Hi, you will see more right in this post. ;)

Good to see you here.

Thanks. I hope yu like this update, too.

Tomas Neto:
Thanks Tomas.

Traveling Santa Barbara County

In the next couple of updates I'm gonna show you the major transportation networks in the Region. We will start with Interstate 5. In reality of course I-5 does not go through Santa Barbara. But I wanted to have an Interstate in my region so I decided that in my parallel universe it would.

Read more about the real I-5 on Wikipedia

I-5 is the main route between Los Angeles and San Francisco and also the main freeway in Santa Barbara County. It traverses the region in east-west direction.

The numbers indicate where the following pictures were taken.

It was opened to traffic in 1959. Since then only a few major upgrades were made. Most parts are still only 4 lanes which is pretty substandard for todays traffic volumes causing heavy congestion. What once was a fast and convenient connection between two metropolises is now a bottleneck. I-5 is almost constantly congested during weekdays. Commute times from the suburbs to the CBD and also travel times through the region are ridiculously high.

Plans for upgrading I-5 exist since the early seventies. But due to the freeway revolts  they were postponed. In the mid-eighties several projects to improve I-5 were finally started. Several Interchanges were upgraded for a future widening of I-5 to 6 lanes. Unfortunately the widening project quickly ran into funding problems. At that time the green party was in charge and diverted money from road construction projects to mass transit.
Recently there has been a change in political climate. So expect to see some improvements of the Santa Barbara road network in future updates.

Let me now show show you some pictures of I-5 through Santa Barbara County as it stands today. We are travelling from west to east towards LA.


I-5 <-> state route 154 (San Marcos Pass Road)
We will travel San Marcos Pass Road in a future update. It is the only road in the region that passes over the mountains. Right before the intersection with I-5 it widens from 2 to 4 lanes and continues as a divided expressway south to the coast.


I-5 <-> W Turnpike Road
This roundabout interchange has already been built wide enough to enable expansion of I-5 to six lanes. On the top right is an artificial rain retention basin. It is full because it has been raining alot in the days before the picture was taken.


I-5 <-> S Patterson Ave
Although this exit was built only a few years ago it is substandard. There was just not enough money available to build a fancy intersection. It is not even wide enough to allow for a widening of I-5. So it will have to be rebuilt anyway. But this exit was badly needed to relief congestion on Turnpike Road. So it was built quick and cheap.


I-5 <-> Las Positas Rd
On the top left you can see the county jail.


Some of the few remaining farm fields in the region. Here you can get an idea of how the region looked 50 years ago when Santa Barbara was famous for its fruit plantations.


I-5 <-> E Turnpike Rd.
A few services are available at this exit: supermarket, gas station, fast food and a motel.

We will continue traveling along I-5 through the CBD in the next update. Thanks for reading and please comment.
My name is Raphael.
Visit my MD: Empire Bay (My old MD: Santa Barbara County)



Very cool showcase of your highway and surrounding areas! 


Great pictures, Rick! Your use of RHW is excellent!

                   Your friend,
I'm the one who jumped across the Grand Canyon... and lived.


I love the map and the highway is looking the most realistic I have ever seen!!



Great update, it was really interesting to read about I-5, and also great to get some close up pictures of YOUR Santa Barbara :)

So are you modeling this I-5 after the actual real life highway?


Very nice and very interesting.  I like especially your use of the RL names of the region's avenues, names I grew up with and which ring so many memory bells for me.  My high school alma mater, San Marcos High School (Class of '72) is located immediately west of the Turnpike/"I-5" intersection and in fact one can see the football stadium lights from the freeway as one drives by. 

In RL, the crossing avenues run Patterson, Turnpike (no w. or E. Turnpike), San Marcos Pass/154, and then Las Positas, west to east, although us SB folks would think of them as north to south simply because the highway's general overall direction is north to south, just east/west across SB area.  And in RL, the County Jail is on the north side of the highway between 154 and Turnpike, as are the local State Patrol offices.  Also in RL, SB stops being the City of Santa Barbara just west of 154 and becomes Goleta.  There is a train trestle crossing that is the dividing line between the two cities.



Nice start for your CJ. Your first Post reminded me of how I started Urland almost 5 years ago ...  :satisfied: (Even though I had only 4 to 6 months of building the region behind me when I start CJing ...)

Good idea on moving along the highway. A railway line ( ;D) would have been an option but you mentioned something about money moving from highway to mass transit ... ;) and as Lora said there is railway in RL SB.

Take care my friend! (and NEVER forget to make backups!)

Bernhard  :thumbsup: