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Bakersfield ranks 4th deadliest in the nation for pedestrians, according to new study

District 3 supervisor, Jeff Flores say the county is working to address problem areas countywide
Posted at 6:04 PM, Jun 06, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Bakersfield ranks as one of the deadliest cities in the nation for pedestrians, and Kern county district three supervisor, Jeff Flores says the county is working to address residents' concerns.

  • Video shows Union Avenue, one of the deadliest corridors for pedestrians, according to Smart Growth America
  • Bakersfield is listed as one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians in the nation with 181 pedestrian fatalities between 2018 and 2022.
  • In addition, lower-income areas have far higher rates of pedestrian deaths.

Union avenue poses the one of the greatest risks for pedestrian in Kern county, according to a report released by Smart Growth America, and one of the report authors tells me Bakersfield ranks as the 4th deadliest city for pedestrians across the nation.

Walking across streets like Union Avenue in Bakersfield could be riskier than you think.

“Union Avenue is honestly one of the most dangerous, deadly corridors that we’ve see anywhere across the country,” Steve Davis, the assistant vice president of Smart Growth said.

Davis co-authored a report that lists Bakersfield as one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians in the nation with 181 pedestrian fatalities between 2018 and 2022.

“This is a national crisis, but it is not experienced evenly across the board by everyone.”

Davis adds its more dangerous for black, native and Latino pedestrians, and people living in low-income neighborhoods, finding Black people are killed at over twice the rate of white people.

For Native people, it’s more than four times, and for Latino people, there is a 26% increased risk of death while walking.

In addition, lower-income areas have far higher rates of pedestrian deaths.

“Disadvantaged communities is one of those criteria that we use so that helps make the case for those areas that historically suffer," Kern county district three supervisor, Jeff Flores said.

He tells me the city has conducted a ten year study to evaluate the most in need areas across the county, listing areas like Niles and Belle Terrace as roads of highest priority.

He adds the city is playing catch up in places where developers previously never installed sidewalks and street lights.

“Historically, we were a little town, an ag town," Flores said. "Some of our areas were built without this kind of basic infrastructure that we take for granted now because of the old planning ways.”

Davis suggest speed bumps near cross walks to slow people down along with sidewalks and street lights in problem areas to keep pedestrians safe.

“There’s a lot of things that can be done with design to make things safer, but the thing that it really takes most of all is a political commitment,” he said.

Flores says people who can’t attend regular meetings can reach out to the county via phone, email, or even social media to voice their concerns.

“We need the public engaged, and together we can do it,” Flores said.

If you have concerns about a road without sidewalks in your neighborhood, you can contact your local representative.


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