Bakersfield City Council demands pedestrian safety reforms following fatal crash on Union Ave

Pedestrian Safety

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A 2021 study said Bakersfield is the second-most dangerous city in the nation for pedestrians, especially on Union Avenue. Now, local leaders are fighting back.

This comes just days after a woman died at the intersection of Union Avenue and 20th Street. Kern County Sheriff’s officials identified the victim as Bakersfield resident Mary Linda Fernandez.

Fernandez, 64, was found in the roadway on the 1900 block of Union Avenue north of 19th Street on Dec. 6. Officials said she did not use the crosswalk.

This was the 50th out of 53 pedestrian fatal in Kern County this year. Seven of those took place on Union Avenue.

Councilmembers Andrae Gonzales, Bob Smith, and Eric Arias held a news conference Wednesday afternoon, demanding that CalTrans makes strides to make Union Avenue safer. They’re asking CalTrans to invest in more lighting on sidewalks, additional crosswalks, bike lanes, and even a roundabout for the Union-21st Street intersection.

CalTrans told 17 News in April they’re aware of the safety issues on Union Avenue and plan to take action, but city leaders say they’ve waited long enough.

City council members plan to send a formal request to the state to ask for changes to Union Avenue.

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