24th Street Signalized Crosswalk Needed for Safe Passage to Neighborhood School and Park
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For the safety of pedestrians as well as motorists and to allow pedestrian access to the neighborhood school and neighborhood public park, we are requesting that the City of Bakersfield install one street-grade* signalized crosswalk to enable pedestrians to traverse across 24th Street at Alder/“A” Street in the Westchester neighborhood. We seek to preserve the existing crosswalk and make it safer for pedestrian crossing by adding a traffic signal as part of the 24th Street Widening Project. (Currently, the existing crosswalk at Alder/"A" Street has a blinking light that no longer works; this is not safe.)
We feel that it is important to include and preserve this crosswalk in the plan for the 24th Street Widening Project because residents that live north of 24th Street need safe pedestrian access to their neighborhood school (Franklin Elementary) and their neighborhood park (Jastro Park)—both located south of 24th Street.
A prior plan (including the approved Environmental Impact Report) showed the “A” Street crosswalk. The current plan for the 24th Street widening project has signalized crosswalks at Oak Street and “F” Street. There is a crosswalk listed in the plans for “A” Street, but it does not include a traffic signal. This is not adequate for pedestrian access within Westchester to the school and the park. If the plan eliminates the “A” Street crossing, it will divide northside Westchester residents from their neighborhood park and neighborhood school. This is unacceptable.
The proposed crosswalk across 24th Street is a logical location because Alder/“A” Street connects directly to Franklin Elementary (the neighborhood elementary school for all of Westchester – both sides of 24th Street).
In addition to traffic lights including pedestrian walk buttons (for button-activated crosswalks) and pavement markings, we request that clear and proper signage notifying drivers of the presence of pedestrians and improved lighting in the vicinity be added as well.
Additionally, installing a crosswalk at Alder/“A” Street will limit the City’s liability from pedestrian-automobile accidents by providing a safe way to cross 24th Street.
Overall, we feel that the addition of this crosswalk will create a safer and more connected community. We are proud to live in the beautiful Westchester neighborhood, full of character and charm. Part of this allure includes Westchester’s proximity to downtown and walkability within the neighborhood. We support this petition because we would like to maintain the ability to walk to our neighborhood public park and neighborhood elementary school.
*A pedestrian bridge overcrossing is not a viable solution for the following reasons:
- Cost (pedestrian bridges cost millions of dollars, and this is not budgeted for in the Project Plan);
- Crime (studies show that bridges attract crime);
- Safety (studies show that pedestrian bridges are inconvenient because they require walking up and down stairs or a ramp, so they are not often used by pedestrians - walkers often attempt to cross lanes of traffic instead); and
- Removal of more personal residences (a pedestrian bridge would require the condemnation and demolition of more private property/personal residences north of 24th Street due to the setback required to construct a bridge).
Today: Westchester Neighborhood is counting on you
Westchester Neighborhood needs your help with “Mayor Karen Goh and Bakersfield City Councilmembers: The City of Bakersfield should install a signalized crosswalk on 24th Street at "A"/Alder Street to enable safe pedestrian access to the neighborhood school and public park”. Join Westchester Neighborhood and 438 supporters today.