Q: I work at a business on the corner of California Avenue and Mohawk Street. It seems lately this intersection has become the scene of more and more accidents that are totally preventable. At least weekly, we hear the screeching of tires and eventually the impact of vehicles hitting from the building I work in. The trees that sit on the Sheraton's property are very full and hang over California Avenue.
When traveling on California Avenue toward downtown, approaching the Mohawk intersection, the traffic lights are impossible to see due to the overgrown trees until you are right at the intersection, thus creating a potential hazard and possible accident. I have also noticed that the traffic lights to cross California to head south on Mohawk are extremely short. Has the city looked into the accident statistics for this specific intersection, as I'm sure there are many? Is there a plan in place to make this intersection safer?
-- Concerned Employee
A: According to Bakersfield traffic engineer Ryan Starbuck, the intersection of California Avenue and Mohawk Street is a well-traveled intersection, where traffic accidents sometimes do occur.
"I know in 2012, we had five accidents at that intersection," Starbuck said, cautioning readers not to be alarmed. "But that's not uncommon for an intersection like that. It has 55,000 vehicles going through it per day. We've gotten two so far this year. That's about normal. No fatalities."
Starbuck confirms that one of the intersection's left-turn lanes is allotted more time, but he says that is because of traffic levels.
"That left turn from California Avenue east to Mohawk Street headed toward Truxtun Avenue gets a lot more left-turn time because it has a lot more traffic," Starbuck said. As for trees that need trimming, he says he'll tell the appropriate people.
"We'll pass that along to the parks department, and they'll go out and trim the trees," Starbuck said.
Readers with questions or concerns about an intersection may contact the Public Works Department at 326-3724.
Q: My friends and I recently had dinner at Uricchio's Trattoria and when we returned to our cars, the parking lot attendant had issued us a parking ticket for $5. We were parked on the street next to the (parking) structure on K Street. He said it was not a city street and that Uricchio's paid for lunchtime parking but not dinner parking. We refused to pay, so he took the ticket back and said he would let us slide this time. Is he correct and do people really pay to park there? Thank you in advance.
-- Pattie Mungary
A: Urrichio's Trattoria owner Claire Urrichio Porter said that she fields frequent questions about parking from hungry diners.
"I'm asked on, probably, a daily basis why they can put parking tickets on the car if people park on the street," Porter said. "What I am told by the city is that this is a private street and because it's a private street, whoever owns the parking structure owns those spots" in front of the parking structure.
Urrichio's does, however, validate patrons' parking at lunch. It used to validate dinner parking, too, but that proved problematic. "When we used to validate at night, people would got to concerts at night and do all sorts things, so we stopped doing that," Porter said.
Ask The Californian 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.