BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Community members joined Kern Public Works to celebrate the completion of the Rexland Acres Community Sidewalk Project in south Bakersfield.

The project added nearly 5 miles of sidewalks to improve pedestrian safety, including new storm drain lines, curbs and higher-visibility crosswalks.

Officials say safety was the number one reason residents didn’t walk to the local school, park, bus stops, and nearby markets. Youth groups played a major role in securing money from the state for the project.

“The youth wake up, they walk to school. A lot of them walk to school. Accessibility. Walking to the school or the store, that’s what safety is about,” event organizer Jose Pinto said.

Event organizers say the $11 million project was funded primarily with grants, with $4 million given by Kern County Public Works.

The project comes after a 2021 study by non-profit ‘Smart Growth America’ says Bakersfield is the second-most dangerous city in the nation for pedestrians.