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Is it working? City to soon begin next phase of Niles & Monterey Complete Streets project

Posted at 7:09 PM, Apr 19, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Rosa Trevino has lived on Monterey Street for 14 years, and in all that time she’s seen drag racing, speeding and crashes. For the first time though, she says she actually feels safer now when she crosses the street.

  • Public Works Director Gregg Strakaluse said the first priority in this project was getting a safer two block radius in the corridor.
  • In order to do this, they took both roads down from three lanes to two by moving the parking away from the sidewalk and creating a safe bike lane.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Rosa Trevino has lived on Monterey Street for 14 years, and in all that time she’s seen drag racing, speeding and crashes. For the first time though, she says she actually feels safer now when she crosses the street.

“It’s very great that they’re looking at the East side," she said.

Monterey is one of the roads that is currently being re-imagined as part of the Niles and Monterey Complete Streets Project by the City of Bakersfield. Public Works Director Gregg Strakaluse said the first priority in this project was getting a safer two block radius in the corridor. In order to do this, they took both roads down from three lanes to two by moving the parking away from the sidewalk and creating a safe bike lane.

Since the changes, Trevino said she's noticed a difference in drivers going slower and she's not the only one. Several neighbors on Niles Street said they’ve also seen a difference in the number of drivers speeding down their street and they appreciate the city’s efforts to make the area safer.

Some folks, however, are still on the fence about things like the new parking designation since it's further from the sidewalk and onto the road.

“I’d be nervous myself," Strakaluse said. "The overall intent there is yes to bring the parking closer to the travel lanes but as a driver coming down, he’s noticing an object close to his travel path so the tendency is to slow down a bit.”

With the designated parking lane and the delineators, Strakaluse said drivers seem to be catching on to the changes, a stark difference from what we saw in August, with vehicles still running into the blockades. Back then, the City was using delineators to reduce traffic, but now they’ve opted for larger planters surrounded by marked curbs.

“I like the planters, makes it look beautiful," Trevino said. “The City, I’m just glad their doing something for us. I like it."

Trevino said she’s in support of the changes she’s seen so far, especially the marked bike path, but she hopes the city will continue to add these safety elements further down the road.

Strakaluse said they’re already on top of that.

“We’re early in the design process, we’re hoping this demonstration project tells us a few things about the over all design,” he said.

Strakaluse said they’ll soon begin canvassing again to get feedback about the initial project and what they’d like to see in the overall design. He also hopes that this corridor project could act as an example of what other street safety projects could look like.


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