By The Bakersfield Californian
Q: The flashing "walk-don't walk" signs at several intersections downtown are now illustrating a second-by-second countdown for a yellow light, something I hadn't seen here (but had seen frequently elsewhere). I think I saw the first one a couple of months ago; now I'm seeing several.
What's the deal? What's the cost to the city? Is the city planning on replacing the former ones throughout the downtown area (or in other areas)?
-- Jeff Evans
A: The city has placed the countdown signals at about 20 intersections throughout the city, mostly downtown but some near Valley Plaza and high schools, said John Ussery, an engineer for the city of Bakersfield.
The intersections chosen have some of the highest pedestrian volumes in the city and the majority are on high-volume arterial and collector streets, according to a city application for federal funds to install the countdown signs.
The city received a $100,000 federal grant to add the countdown clocks.
"Many pedestrians find it difficult to judge the amount of time they have to cross the street when the 'don't walk' symbol is flashing red," the application says. "Because of the classifications of the streets within this project, vehicle speeds through these intersections can easily reach 55 mph or more."
Here are the intersections where the clocks have been installed and what's in the vicinity of them:
* 34th Street and San Dimas Street -- Bakersfield Memorial Hospital
* Berkshire Road and Monitor Street -- Oliver Junior High and Val Valle Verde Elementary School
* California Avenue and H Street and at Oleander Street -- Bakersfield High School
* California and King Street -- Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center/Park and Owens Primary School
* Chester Avenue and 17th, and at 18th and 20th streets -- all downtown
* Chester and Truxtun Avenue -- City Hall, Superior Court, Hall of Records
* College and Mount Vernon avenues -- Kern Medical Center and East Bakersfield High School
* Flower Street and Mount Vernon -- also East High
* Gosford Road and Kroll Way -- Stockdale Elementary School
* Ming Avenue and Wible Road -- Valley Plaza
* New Stine Road and Sundale Avenue -- West High School
* Norris Road and Calloway Drive -- Norris Middle School
* P Street and Belle Terrace Way -- Sequoia Middle School
* Stockdale Highway and California -- shopping center/fast food
* Truxtun and L Street -- courts
* Truxtun and N Street -- Rabobank Arena Theater and Convention Center
Also under that grant, one will be installed at 4th and P streets later.
The city has received another $100,000 federal grant to do about 20 more intersections, likely this fall, Ussery said. Those locations are:
* Stockdale Highway and Don Hart Drive -- Cal State Bakersfield
* Stockdale and Buena Vista Road -- Riverlakes Park
* Stockdale and Old River Road -- Mercy Southwest Hospital
* Mount Vernon Avenue and Church Avenue, and at Christmas Tree Lane and University Avenue -- all Bakersfield College
* Mount Vernon and Columbus Street -- shopping center/grocery stores/restaurants
* Hageman Road and Patton Way -- Discovery Elementary School/park
* Hageman and Coffee roads -- shopping centers/grocery stores/restaurants
* Hageman and Riverlakes Drive -- Centennial High School
* Monitor Street and Panama Lane, Fairview Road -- both elementary schools
* Flower Street and Beale Avenue, and at Owens Street -- both elementary schools/parks
* Haley Street and Monterey Street, and at Niles Street -- both residential
* White Lane and Pin Oak Park -- Tevis Junior High School/park
* White Lane and Akers Road -- shopping center/mall
* Wilson and Wible roads -- shopping center
* Ming Avenue and Real Road -- shopping centers/restaurant
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