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By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian
By The Bakersfield Californian
Q: We love going up to the Panorama Bluffs for the fresh air, great view and to people watch. As we walk from one end to the other, there is no restroom.
Why can't the park put one in? Many people we talk to say the same.
-- Fred and Linda Enyeart
A: Eight or nine years ago when Panorama Park was being designed, members of the public said at community meetings that they didn't want a bathroom there because of the nuisances it could attract such as graffiti, vandalism and other malfeasance, said Bob Lerude, director of the Kern County Parks and Recreation Department.
Lerude said that if members of the public want a restroom built there, they can call him directly at 868-7003 and he will hear them out. If enough people express interest in having a restroom built there, he said, the county would probably hold a community meeting to talk out the issues.
Lerude cautioned, though, that restrooms are expensive to construct and maintain.
Q: There has been an overpass under construction on Coffee Road south of Brimhall Road for months. The work took out a section of the street that used to be a bike lane.
Just recently, a new bike lane logo has been painted on a portion of Coffee, but not off to the side on the right shoulder as you'd expect. It's in the middle of traffic. Is this just temporary, until construction is completed, or is it permanent? It doesn't look like a very safe area to put cyclists.
-- Courtenay Edelhart
A: Ted Wright, city program manager for the Thomas Roads Improvement Program, answered:
Coffee Road between the Kern River and Brimhall Road was not originally wide enough to have dedicated striped bike lanes. With the new construction currently under way at the Westside Parkway interchange, Coffee Road will be widened and dedicated bike lanes will ultimately be striped through the area.
But during construction of the interchange, there was unfortunately not enough room in this segment of Coffee Road to provide for temporary dedicated bike lanes. So "Share the Road" signs were installed on Coffee Road to remind motorized vehicle drivers that they must share these travel lanes with bicycles.
Recently, the state of California began recognizing new pavement markings for similar situations where motorized vehicles and bicycles must share lanes. The pavement markings installed on Coffee Road reflect this new standard; Caltrans refers to these markings as "Shared Lane Markings," but they have also been informally called a "Sharrow."
This marking is placed in the center of a travel lane to indicate that a bicyclist may use the full lane and to further emphasize that cars and bikes must share the road. Once the construction of the interchange is completed, these pavement markings will be removed as there will then be dedicated striped bike lanes through the interchange area.
Ask The Californian appears on Mondays. Submit questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or to The Bakersfield Californian, c/o Christine Bedell, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302.