Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bakersfield California

Every time I visit my sister's house for Thanksgiving I'm mortified by the autocentricity of the City of Bakersfield. Every time I come back there are more former agricultural fields turned into sprawl and more awful auto oriented commercial strip centers. I wish I could say that there could be transit here but there is no hope for this community it seems. There is a bus system but everyone has a car and the roads are huge. New roads are constructed to be 6 lanes at some point in their lifespan even though at the moment they only carry 2 lanes. It's gross actually. Every road is a speedway basically and the sidewalks that are built are devoid of pedestrians.

There isn't a building higher than 3 stories anywhere except for perhaps one or two and those are surrounded by huge parking lots. Elevators are an obvious rarity. I'm not sure what good having high speed rail down here would be. I know that it would be good for transportation but wouldn't it just be aiding all this crap that gets built down here? I'm sure though that in a few years when water runs short and there get to be too many people, things will change, but will it catastrophic or a slow bleed? I guess we'll have to wait and see. In the mean time, I'll be here at Christmas and Thanksgiving, traveling by car, and stuck on I-5 during if there is a wreck.

2 comments:

Kyle said...

Maybe the people of Bakersfield don't have any other viable option but to drive. It's kind of a chicken and egg sort of thing. Transportation can influence the built form. It doesn't have to be the reverse. I've never been to Bakersfield, but it sounds like the city needs a different sort of leadership...

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Well considering that the city went 67% for Bush in the last election, I'm not sure if they want it any different. Usually I would agree with you about form and the transformative power of transit but since I believe they don't see that its a problem, I don't think change is coming any time soon. I might be wrong though.