City Council approves 24th Street widening

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) After years of debate, studies and meetings, the Bakersfield City Council voted Wednesday evening to approve a plan to widen 24h Street through downtown.

The Council voted 6-1 to certify the final environmental-impact report and OK the 24th Street improvement project.

The plan calls for widening 24th Street through downtown and expanding 23rd and 24th streets from three to four lanes in each direction between D and M streets.

The plan also requires demolishing 23 single-family homes and eliminating about 300 parking spaces.

The vote means the city can begin the process to contract professional services to complete the final design of the project and begin property acquisition efforts.

Opponents of the plan urged the City Council to reject the project.

Vanessa Vangel, a Westchester resident and a member of Citizens Against the Widening Processes, reminded Council members that the vast majority of people who had signed petitions opposed the project.

Councilman Terry Maxwell, who represents Ward 2, sided with opponents. Maxwell called the EIR "seriously flawed" and said that it was "not credible" and failed to take several issues into consideration.

But, city staff have said widening 24th Street is a matter of public safety and will reduce traffic congestion.

Vangel said the fight isn't over. She said her group has a Plan B and will regroup.