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2/2/16

SOM in the Press

Bakersfield Plans for its Future as a California High-Speed Rail Hub

Source: The Bakersfield Californian

Planning for a bullet train station at F Street and Golden State Highway is just beginning, members of a Bakersfield City Council committee learned Tuesday, but the results should have considerable relevance for the surrounding area...​

The Bakersfield City Council voted 6-0 in December to hire urban planning and engineering firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP to do a High-Speed Rail station area plan. Gunnar Hand, a project manager in SOM’s Los Angeles office, told committee members the project is an “incredible opportunity” and like the promise of the bullet train itself, has great potential for Bakersfield.​

Bakersfield has been late to a downtown renaissance, he said in an interview, but the city’s continued growth has made it one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities. “You add high-speed rail to that and it becomes that much more, so the question for downtown is how do you steer your focus and concentrate that development in an area that already has the infrastructure?” Hand said.

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