September 16, 2015

Media Contact: Bianca Quintero, (661) 709-5089

Building Healthy Communities South Kern: Collaboration Brings Nearly $2 Million for Major Sidewalk Project in Lamont
“Residents Partner with Kern County Roads Department on major project”

Leading a diverse coalition that features Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, California Walks, Center on Race Poverty and the Environment, and Lamont Parent Partners, Building Healthy Communities-South Kern helped Kern County Roads Department successfully compete for nearly $2 million to improve pedestrian access in Lamont.

The money comes from the state’s 2015 Active Transportation Program (ATP), which after final approval in October, will bring $1.43 million in much needed sidewalks, crosswalks, curbs and gutters to the east side of Highway 184 in Lamont.

“Now the people of Lamont will have a safe place to walk, residents will have their space to walk without risking themselves to be hit by a car,” says Jose Mireles, a member of Lamont Parent Partners, who mobilized for safety and walkability in Lamont. “After a year of working hard, the community of Lamont is reaching its goal–more sidewalks so that people can get out and walk.”

The project, scheduled to begin in 2016, should be finished by end of 2017. The Lamont Pedestrian Improvement Project is nearly $2 million total and the County is using other sources to come up with the rest.

“This wouldn’t have happened without the support and advocacy of Lamont Parent Partners and strong partnership with Bob Neath at Kern County Roads Department,” says Veronica Garibay, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability’s co-director. “These dollars will improve health outcomes by promoting safe walking opportunities throughout the community and easier access to services.”

Overall, more than $5.7 million was recommended for the Kern region, including Kern Council of Governments ATP, through which South Kern and other communities can participate to prioritize needed improvements for future state or local funding. Other projects recommended for state funding include McFarland, Bakersfield, Tehachapi, and Mojave. Mojave tied with two other projects for the overall highest score at 99, so this is a significant boost for the entire region.

The California Transportation Commission released recommendations for the Statewide and Small Urban & Rural Components of the 2015 Active Transportation Program late Tuesday. Final approval is expected by Oct. 22, once the Commission adopts the program recommendations.

“The funding will provide South Kern residents the opportunity to improve community health and safety. We walk more and become healthier when it’s safer to walk,” added Wendy Alfsen of California Walks.

Funded by The California Endowment, a private statewide health foundation, Building Healthy Communities-South Kern is a community initiative comprised of more than 2,500 residents, youth, business and organizations who are working to achieve health equity by improving community health and initiate policy and systemic change in the areas of education, environment, recreation and health access in the communities of Arvin, Lamont, Weedpatch, and the unincorporated areas of Greenfield. For more information, visit


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