The Rexland Acres community in southeast Bakersfield will soon undergo a major transportation overhaul.
In its Nov. 19 meeting, the Kern County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $9.7 million contract with Bowman Asphalt for the construction of new curbs and gutters, sidewalks and bike lanes, road improvements, traffic signs and more.
Construction is expected to begin next Spring and be completed in Spring 2021.
This is the largest funded project the county has had for pedestrian-related improvements, according to Kern County Public Works.
The majority of the improvements will be funded through a grant from Caltrans’ Active Transportation Program. The rest — about $3.4 million — would be locally funded.
The project will consist of four miles of sidewalks, 5.3 miles of bike lanes, 66 Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant curb ramps, 75 new traffic signs, 11 flashing stop signs, 19 crosswalks, six new street lights and three new four-way stops, according to the county.
Jasmine Del Aguila, a policy advocate with the Leadership Counsel of Justice and Accountability based in Fresno, thanked the county at the meeting for partnering with the advocacy group on this project.
“We see this as a step in the right direction in being able to bring sidewalks to the community, but it’s not enough,” she said. “Rexland is still going to have patches where it’s going to need curbs, gutters and sidewalks. We hope to keep working with the county to bring more investments into the community and be as supportive as we can to able able to continue those efforts moving forward.”
Rexland Acres is a small unincorporated county pocket on the southeastern edge of Bakersfield with more than 4,000 residents.
The community has historically had high pedestrian vehicle collision rates and struggles with gang violence and vandalism. It also doesn’t help that the community currently has no crosswalks, poor lighting and no disability access to most facilities, according to the county.