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Casey Christie / The Californian

Many involved in the city of Bakersfield and the Thomas Roads Improvement Program toss some dirt during Thursday's groundbreaking ceremony for Phase 6C of the Westside Parkway project.

Q: When is the Allen Road-to-Truxtun Avenue portion of the crosstown freeway expected to be open?

-- Rob Meszaros

A: Once it's finished, the Westside Parkway will stretch from Truxtun Avenue west to Heath Road, covering about eight miles. It's expected to be completely finished in the fall of 2014, but the segment from Allen Road to Truxtun Avenue will be finished and open much sooner, sometime "later this summer," said Melissa Rossiter of the Thomas Roads Improvement Program office, which is overseeing the project.

The Allen-to-Truxtun segment actually comprises three separate phases of the project still undergoing construction: the road from Mohawk Street to Allen Road, the interchange with Allen Road and the tie-in with Truxtun Avenue, Rossiter said.

Q: While trying to find a parking place recently (Bill Cosby event, Friday night, Feb. 15), we drove into the downtown parking garage. Only the lower two levels were open; if you wanted to park beyond that, you had to swipe a parking card.

So, we had to turn around and find other parking several blocks away. As we drove away, it appeared that the top floors of the garage were completely empty, unused, and would have been available.

My question is, why is there not some entrepreneurial spirit that could see the money-making possibilities for the city (or whoever owns the garage) for night-time parking in downtown Bakersfield? Good grief, they could have made $5 to $10 per car. What is the deal?

-- Nancy Green

A: Chris Huot, an administrative analyst in the city manager's office, responded:

The city has routinely provided access to all levels of the parking garage at no charge for community events that generate significant parking demand in the downtown area, such as First Fridays and the Christmas Parade.

For this specific event, the city did not receive a request for such access; however, had the city been advised of the need to open up the garage for this event, we likely would have done so free of charge.

Event organizers interested in utilizing the parking garage for events in the downtown area should contact the city of Bakersfield Finance Department four to six weeks prior to the event date. The Finance Department can be reached at 326-3742 or

Q: I was recently driving east on Rosedale Highway near Calloway Drive. It was at 4 p.m. There were large trucks in both lanes, slowing traffic. Then two trucks moved into the left lane. The trucks continued in these lanes all the way to Highway 99, about four miles.

In many states trucks cannot be in the left lane unless they will be turning soon. Question: What is the traffic law in California regarding trucks in the left lane?

-- Harry Love

A: For this we turned to California Highway Patrol Officer Robert Rodriguez:

The law doesn't prohibit big rigs from traveling in both eastbound traffic lanes. If traveling on a freeway and there are at least three lanes in each direction, a motorist in a big rig must occupy the right-hand lane unless briefly passing or when there are signs erected allowing the big rigs to travel in the middle lane.

Rosedale Highway has two lanes in the eastbound direction with multiple cross streets. From Calloway Drive to Highway 99, there are no signs posted prohibiting big rigs from occupying the left lane.