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Bakersfield City Council discuss making neighborhoods safer

Bakersfield City Council (FILE)
Posted at 10:15 PM, Dec 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-16 03:38:31-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Calling for change members of Bakersfield City Council and local organizations want to make our neighborhoods safer especially around union avenue.

“This is the problem child in Bakersfield as far as bicyclists and pedestrians are concerned,” said Bob Smith Bakersfield City Councilmember of Ward 4.

Members of the Bakersfield City Council gathered Wednesday to highlight just how dangerous Union Avenue can be for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

“There is no bike lane there is no real shoulder so the cars are right up against the curb and there’s just no room for bicyclists,” said Smith.

Asha Chandy with the local non-profit, Bike Bakersfield, said that many people cross this street, so it needs to be more accessible for everyone.

“We need more crosswalks, lighting, complete and safe streets for bicyclists for disabled residents, for people who are in wheelchairs, for people who have strollers,” said Chandy.

The council members added that one challenge with this area is that it’s operated by local and state agencies. So, fixing these problems requires a collaborative solution.

“Telling Caltrans, you know, come up with the design, let’s work together, let’s figure out what is better for the community. What’s going to make it safer? What’s going to give us fewer fatalities,” said Smith.

At the city council meeting Wednesday night, council member Andrae Gonzales of ward 2 put forward a formal recommendation to begin this improvement process with the state department.

“Given the number of pedestrian fatalities over the recent months and years, I’d like to ask the staff to draft a letter to Caltrans requesting that they address union avenue to make it safer,” said Andrae Gonzales.

The goal is to ensure residents stay safe and don’t feel like they are left in the dark.

“This is treated like a freeway, it’s treated like 65-miles an hour, but it’s a neighborhood street really, to be honest,” said Chandy.