BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Many Bakersfield drivers might think the same thing: when will the streetlights get fixed? Why is it so dark outside?
Like Laloni Dunas, who says it is becoming more and more dangerous to drive in certain areas of Bakersfield.
“Especially since it’s getting dark faster, it’s like really scary because these people don’t know how to drive at all, I don’t know who gave them a license, they were just there and nobody knows what to do and the other day we actually got in an accident because of that,” said Dunas.
To address that, the city is making progress on streetlights in previously neglected neighborhoods.
According to Bakersfield City Councilmember Eric Arias, some of those neighborhoods are in Ward One, the most Southeastern ward, which has increased accidents and pedestrian fatalities.
However, this is a problem in both East and Southeast Bakersfield.
“A lot of the newer development goes specifically in other parts of town, I’m proud to represent one of the oldest communities in all of Bakersfield, and over the past three to four years, we have not seen significant investment,” said Arias.
Arias shares that he has made it his priority to change that.
“We can do better, install those streetlights in those communities and in those neighborhoods that need it the most […] to really put an emphasis on our Bakersfield communities that are a little bit older but certainly need that additional investment,” said Arias.
City voters approved Measure N in 2018 to provide funding to help improve street lighting. However, the project has been done in phases. Phase one installed 163 new streetlights in 2021, and 138 additional streetlights were approved for installation this September. Now, an additional $3 million is set aside to do more for the neighborhoods with little to no current street lighting. Arias shares that money will make a difference in public safety.
“This is absolutely not going to solve all of our issues, but it is certainly a piece of the puzzle,” said Arias.
Some locations to be improved with that funding include Niles and Monterey streets, Bernard Street, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, P Street, 4th Street and Easton Drive.