West Bakersfield will soon have a new southbound connection via a multi-use pathway and bridge, builders and city officials said during a Monday groundbreaking for new amenities.
The 2.5-mile trail, dubbed the Stockdale Ranch Multi-Use Trail, will begin in the Stockdale Ranch neighborhood and connect to the existing Kern River Bike Trail. A 100-foot-long, 12-foot-wide steel truss bridge will span the Cross Valley Canal. Cyclists, pedestrians and people with disabilities will all have accommodations along the way, Mayor Karen Goh said.
“Today we have this opportunity to celebrate what will be an opportunity for us to slow down…and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings,” Goh said. “An opportunity to receive from nature much more than what we seek.”
Bruce Davis, executive vice president of development for Bolthouse Properties, conceived the idea. He noted how the surrounding community has witnessed major developments in recent months with the construction of a mall, churches and parks.
The Kern River Parkway is “the crown jewel of the City of Bakersfield,” said Bakersfield Councilman Bob Smith, and this extension gives more residents access to the bike path. Speakers added that Smith’s affinity for bike paths led to the creation of the trail.
“If there’s a bike project, (Smith will find) the funding,” Davis joked.
Smith added that the new amenities will contribute to the quality of life for area residents and will be an economic driver for the city. Residents can forgo driving downtown or White Lane and just hop on their bikes to ride those trails, he said.
The path is funded by federal dollars from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program and local gas and utility surcharge funds, said Stuart Patteson, deputy director of the city public works department. He added that the federal government gives the money to projects that improve air quality.
Granite Construction won the tender to build the trail, with work due to start April 4 and finish in August, he said.
“We will be able to have the … lanes to enjoy nature, enjoy each other’s company and slow down,” Goh said.
You can reach Ishani Desai at 661-395-7417. You can also follow her at @idesai98 on Twitter.