On Saturday, April 29th, NBC network affiliate KGET-TV broadcast a segment on high-speed rail in Bakersfield, California. In the segment, news anchor Jim Scott leads a discuss the potential of high-speed rail to revitalize the city's downtown area. Joining him in studio were SOM Associate Gunnar Hand, City Councilman Andre Gonzalez, and Community Development Director Jacquelyn Kitchen.
In 2015, the Bakersfield City Council voted unanimously to hire SOM to develop the Downtown Bakersfield High-Speed Rail Station Area Plan. As part of the California High-Speed Rail System, which is slated to run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin by 2029, this effort will develop a vision for the downtown area around the proposed station site.
Describing the process of planning for the transit-oriented development, Hand shares on the KGET-TV segment, "What we discovered with the community and through our research is that to make downtown Bakersfield high-speed ready, is the same thing as revitalizing downtown Bakersfield."