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By The Bakersfield Californian
Q: I was wondering if Kern Regional Transit or Golden Empire Transit would be offering more frequent trips to Tejon Ranch once the outlet mall is open.
I'm sure that not all prospective employees and shoppers of the many stores have reliable transportation. Not to mention that it will severely reduce traffic on Highway 99 and Internet 5.
-- Luis Valladares
A: The short answer is probably yes. But the details are complicated.
Officials at Kern Regional Transit, the county-operated bus system, say they will present new routes for Board of Supervisors approval in June to take effect Aug. 4. They include adding a stop at the Microtel Inn and Suites to the routes that run between Bakersfield and Frazier Park.
Microtel is close to The Outlets at Tejon.
There are four trips between Bakersfield and Frazier Park (with various stopping points in each city depending on the ride) Monday through Saturday and Kern Regional Transit proposes to add a fifth trip on Tuesdays and Saturdays, said Ruby Horta, administrative coordinator.
It does not have service on Sundays.
Here's where things are more up in the air.
Bakersfield-based Golden Empire Transit does have service between Bakersfield and the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center, which is on the west side of I-5 just south of the I-5 junction with Highway 99. (The outlets are being built on the east side).
It's an expensive service for GET to provide. So IKEA, which has a distribution center in Tejon's commerce center, buys a certain number of bus passes for its employees to ensure a steady revenue stream for GET, said agency spokeswoman Gina Hayden.
GET is meeting with Tejon Ranch about whether the two can strike up a similar arrangement since the outlets will be outside GET's service area and the trips would be expensive to provide, Hayden said. Nothing has been decided, she said and Barry Zoeller, vice president of corporate communications for Tejon Ranch Co., confirmed.
Kern Regional Transit is watching what happens between GET and Tejon because it plans to add a route from Lamont to the McKee Park and Ride at McKee Road and South H Street, where people can pick up the GET bus to the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center.
So if county supervisors approve the new routes and GET adds a stop at or near the outlets, that would result in additional service to the outlets.
One more thing: Zoeller said local entrepreneurs have reached out to Tejon about providing bus and/or shuttle services from various points in Bakersfield to the outlets.
Zoeller declined to name names at this point.
The Californian will watch how all this does or does not work out as part of its coverage of the opening of the outlets, which is scheduled for Aug. 7.
You can go to Kern Regional Transit and Golden Empire Transit's websites to see where people now pick up buses down to the area where the outlets are being constructed.
Q: New streetlights and traffic control lights are being installed at the intersection of Hageman and Old Farm roads. Last night I noticed that the new lights are LED.
While I am sure they save money over the old lights, they are a BLASTING BRIGHT WHITE light. They are also higher than the old lights. The old lights had the yellow tinge that made them neighborhood-friendly.
The new lights make you feel like you are in downtown L.A. They light up four times the number of homes than the lights they are replacing. These BLAST the homes with an eye-numbing light. I can see these lights from blocks away in the night sky, like a football field.
Did they not consider light pollution before deciding to install these?
-- Jack Sheahan
A: Arnold Ramming, an engineer in the Bakersfield Public Works Department, responded:
The city appreciates Mr. Sheahan's comments about the project. The LED lights are very different in color than the high pressure sodium lights we have been using. Also, they are more energy efficient and provide a "cleaner" light that is more evenly distributed.
That being said, his observations and comments pointed out that there was an error in our project. We will be replacing the current fixtures with ones that produce a less amount of light. This should provide the lighting level that is necessary for a signalized intersection and not be as intrusive into the neighborhood.
The project contractor needs to order the new fixtures and then install them, so it may take a couple of weeks before they are changed out.
Ask TBC appears on Mondays. Submit questions to email@example.com or to The Bakersfield Californian, c/o Christine Bedell, P.O. Bin 440, Bakersfield, CA 93302.