Residents speak out about new 24th Street EIR

Posted at 11:13 PM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-22 02:15:24-05

It's day 10 of a 45-day review period for an updated environmental impact report for the 24th Street Improvement Project.

On Thursday night, residents spoke out about the new court-mandated draft during a planning commission meeting.

Last July, a Kern County superior court judge sided with residents who sued the city of Bakersfield, saying the EIR needed more work.

In September, city council ordered staff to re-do parts of that report. Those new parts included how six cul-de-sacs would impact visual and cultural resources, including the historic nature of the neighborhoods.

It also further explained and provided evidence as to why eight alternatives considered in the previous EIR were rejected.

Many Westchester residents were still not happy with the recent changes.

"The EIR talks about a $46 million cost, but the city council has been told $65 million and it's not clear if the cul-de-sacs are included in any of these costs," said one resident opposed to the project. 

"Is the city financially prepared to pay for and maintain all the elements depicted?," asked another resident.

"The critical factors are not whether how many lanes there are, but whether the lights are synchronized," said a third resident.

Meanwhile, others asked for the project to move forward.

"The faster we do it, the faster the vacant houses can be removed and vagrants no longer entering our properties."

"Both the 24th street improvement project and the Hageman Flyover Project are significant elements of the city-wide traffic circulation plan."

"Push this thing forward. My understanding is we've spent half a million dollars stopping it, so we're not saving any money arguing about it."

Commissioners could not take action on the issue, but instead provided their own comments on the matter.

 "We know that diminishing revenues is a real concern in this city and we need to look for all the ways that we can find in order to make sure our tax dollars are going as far as possible," said Richard Schwartz.

No action was taken during tonight's meeting, it was purely to listen to public comments. The report is available for public review through February 25th.

Click here to view the Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report.


Like Grecia Aguilar on Facebook:

Follow Grecia Aguilar on Twitter: