Nov 20: Kern County Roads announced in September that Mojave won a $0.9 million grant from California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) to bring Sidewalks to Mojave. The grant, part of CalTrans’ “Safe Routes to School” program, will bring sidewalks to every street in downtown Mojave, and ensure children and pedestrians can walk safely and confidently throughout our community. Mojave tied with two other cities in California for the highest score among 617 applications competing for $180 million in state-wide transportation funding. Kern County will also contribute $350,000 to bring the total project to $1.2 million.
Sidewalks will extend from Sierra Highway to the Airport, and from highway 58 to the overpass on the north end of town. Sidewalks will also be installed along Barstow Road in Mojave Gardens. Construction is expected to begin by the end of 2016.
The Mojave Foundation is proud to have contributed to the this project, and liaised between Kern County Roads, Mojave Unified School District, Kern Country Sheriff’s Office, Mojave Air & Space Port, and a myriad of other stakeholders in the community who wrote dozens of letters of support. The Foundation also looks forward to capitalizing on this progress by restoring Streetlights and other safety improvements in our streets.
The Mojave Foundation is working with Kern County Roads to apply for a massive sidewalks grant in May of 2015 that would put sidewalks on every street in downtown Mojave, and connect the bike path on Oak Creek Road with K street via the overpass. The sidewalk project would be funded by CalTrans, through the “Safe Routes to School” program. This is a highly competitive grant process with hundreds of communities across the state of California applying. There are two ways you can help us increase our eligibility to win this grant:
(1) Write a letter to Kern County Roads indicating your support for this project. Click here for a link to an example letter. Email your letter to Kern County Roads Department Director, Bob Neath at firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail it to 2700 “M” Street, Suite 400, Bakersfield, CA 93301
(2) fill out the survey below and help us put real data to our claims of usage. Ultimately, we recognize that this is a numbers game, and the more letters, and the more people we can point to who would utilize this infrastructure investment, the more likely we are to win the grant. Please hit “VOTE” after each question to see immediate results:
August 28: In May 2014 Kern County Roads submitted a grant proposal to CalTrans to install sidewalks along northern Hwy-14 near Stater Bros. The Active Transportation (ATP) grant was ultimately denied by CalTrans, according to Bob Neath, Engineering Manager at Kern County Roads. However, The Mojave Foundation submitted a larger sidewalk grant to Kern County Roads in May, which Mr. Neath intends to submit to CalTrans in 2015. The grant, titled “Sidewalks to School” is expected to top $1.4 million, and include 27,000 linear feet of sidewalks, spanning the entire downtown area and part of Mojave Gardens. The grant application intends to take advantage of California’s “Safe Routes to School” program, which is a special category within CalTrans’ ATP which gives special preference to municipal infrastructure project that enhance public safety for children. “We think we have a really good shot at this grant”, said Mr. Neath at Thursday’s Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Mariah Inn in Mojave. “Our Stater Bros sidewalk application missed the cut-off by one this year, so we think that this ‘Sidewalks-to-School’ grant is really competitive.”
Three pedestrians were killed by vehicles in Mojave in 2013, one of which was a 16-year-old girl crossing the road on her way to school. The Mojave Foundation worked with Kern County Roads and Southern California Edison to install a flashing cross-walk at this intersection, but we feel that the problem of pedestrian safety is systemic, and can only be solved with a comprehensive municipal investment in sidewalks and streetlights. We are currently fundraising for a municipal lighting project, and we look forward to working with Kern County Roads to bring sidewalks to Mojave’s streets as rapidly as possible. To see the full grant The Mojave Foundation submitted to Kern County Roads, click here: Part-1, Part-2, Graphics.
August 15: Almost 9 months after the tragic death of Mojave’s own Raven Night, Kern County broke ground on a cross walk across Hwy-58, linking the Mojave Gardens neighborhood with downtown Mojave and the school district. Kern County Roads is taking the lead on the project, in partnership with Southern California Edison (SCE). The project will include four flashing beacons – one on the south side of the highway, one on the north side, and two in the middle; and will include a curb ramp and pedestrian island for safety in the median.
Raven Night, 16, was killed by a vehicle on November 18th while crossing the Barstow Highway on foot on her way to school. Her death is a vivid reminder of the need to prioritize the health and safety of our children above all else. A memorial has remained in her memory along the fence at the site of the incident, and local residents have come out spontaneously to help walk children safely across the highway. The Mojave Foundation appreciates the recent upgrades to the crosswalk along Hwy-58, but we are adamantly focused on improving the pedestrian safety of our children throughout Mojave – to include sidewalks and streetlights throughout our downtown area. A complete overhaul of Mojave’s pedestrian safety infrastructure would be a fitting memorial to such an outstanding young lady.
May 23: Residents throughout Mojave joined forces on Friday morning to embark on a massive project to clean up the entire Western Village neighborhood in Mojave. About 30 volunteers, mostly from the affected neighborhood, removed couches, mattresses, and garbage from the streets and alleyways of Edwin, Arthur and Milton streets. Four County agencies contributed to this effort including Code Compliance, Waste Management, County Roads and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO). Most of the volunteers were informed of the event during a door-to-door campaign conducted by The Mojave Foundation the previous Monday. The volunteers also inspired many neighbors to come outside during the cleanup with their kids and relatives and start picking up their own yards. The Mojave Foundation is confident that the local residents are now invested in helping to KEEP the neighborhood clean and make this cleanup sustainable.
Friday’s cleanup was a joint effort between The Mojave Foundation, local volunteers and four County agencies. Code Compliance provided the trash bags and gloves, Waste Management provided access to the dump, KCSO proved the CSU volunteers for security, and most importantly, Kern County Roads provided three dump trucks and five drivers, which was critical this event. County Roads employees – some of which are from Mojave – hauled away 11 dump-truck loads in less than 3 hours (equivalent to about 25 pickup trucks full). Under the leadership of Mojave Roads Foreman, Dan Duckworth, volunteers were able to work at maximum efficiency for three hours, removing every mattress, couch, and fire hazard in Western Village. The Mojave Foundation considers this a “force multiplier”, and salutes Mr. Duckworth and his crew’s professionalism and proficiency.
The Mojave Foundation would also like to credit Leon Ryder for conceiving of Friday’s cleanup, and inspiring residents and volunteers all over Mojave to pitch in. Mr. Ryder, who spontaneously decided to paint over some graffiti in his neighborhood several months ago, has inspired a grass-roots miniature revolution in Western Village and all over Mojave. Mr. Ryder and The Mojave Foundation are now working directly with residents and Kern County General Services to remove graffiti immediately and efficiently. The Mojave Foundation salutes Mr. Ryder’s “leadership by example” and countless volunteers who made this and other cleanups possible. For more information on how you can volunteer fill out one of our volunteer forms. Click here for information on how you can donate to the cause.