Even the complicated five-way East Kern-Kern-Adkisson-First intersection is not accident prone

Traveling through Taft on Kern Street is apparently safer than people think, even at a truncated 5-way intersection.

The City's traffic committee met last week to discuss motorists concerns about the Kern-East Kern-Adkisson-First intersection.

It's a complicated intersection, but Caltrans statistics show it is safe, as is the rest of Kern (Highway 33) through Taft.

The data doesn't show a significant number of of crashes there despite public perception, City Manager Craig Jones said.

"The statistics just don't show that intersection to be accident-prone," he said. "We are much lower for accidents even though we consider it unsafe."

The discussion of the intersection led to a discussion of a possibly turning it into a roundabout at one point.
That's not going to happen, Jones said.

It would cost about $2 million, and the accident rate doesn't justify that kind of spending.

However, the traffic committee did decided to look at some options to deal with the intersection, including exploring the possibility of limiting access from both northbound and southbound first street to right turn only to limit vehicles making left turns across four panes of traffic with cars coming in from three directions.

Overall, Highway 33 through the city is very safe as well.

Jones said there are only about 6 to 7 crashes with more than a million miles driven on the roadway.

There is another concern out to the west, Jones said.

Traffic coming in from the west is still traveling above the posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour when it hits the intersection with Hillard, and Jones said some more traffic enforcement may be needed.

Many cars and trucks are still at 50 to 55 miles per hour at the intersection, he said.

Several other issues were also discussed, including a request from Taft Union High School District to turn parking on the south side of the 700 block of San Emidio from parallel to slant parking.
Jones said the City public works department is going to look at the feasibility to see how many extra spaces would be created.

If the project moves forward, the TUHSD would have to pay the costs.