curbs. She said she doesn't like walking to school on rainy days because ... the street has a lot of puddles and they're really big,” said Vanessa, a sixth-grader at Calwa Elementary School.”23
Standing Pools of Water Stagnant pools of water caused by the absence of gutters and curbs, or because generally vacant property has gone wild, are all too common in Porterville, Tulare County. (The example comes from an island only recently annexed into the city.) The fear of contracting West Nile virus – generally contracted through mosquito bites – is heightened because mosquitoes are attracted to the pools of stagnant water and there is little mosquito abatement in Porterville.24
2. Street Lighting In many unincorporated communities, adding street lighting is viewed as a way to reduce residents’ fear of crime in their neighborhoods. In southwest Modesto’s Paradise South (island or fringe), an area of higher crime, residents believe that if streetlights were installed it would prevent criminals from “lurking,” aid traffic safety and increase pedestrian traffic.25 The lack of street lighting has been identified as a built environment barrier to health, as it decreases the likelihood that residents will be able to walk and engage in other forms of exercise in the evening after work. .
Residents can sometimes opt to pay for street lights on their streets, when feasible, but still do not always receive adequate maintenance services. Residents have paid taxes to install and maintain streetlights in the high-crime Franklin-Beachwood area (unsure of location, but a CDP) of Merced County, but one resident claims that the county has failed to regularly change light bulbs (less than once per year) and he “feels like the county has forgotten about his neighborhood” through its negligence. 26
3. Roads Unsafe, smaller roads and inadequate traffic enforcement for both speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs plague rural roads in unincorporated parts of the San Joaquin Valley.27 In some areas of Fresno County high-growth “traffic levels exceed what the roads were built to handle” and two lane roads with no medians make head-on collisions more likely.28 Narrow, poorly constructed roads in unincorporated areas “that don’t meet safety standards and (have) limited traffic enforcement,” lead to dozens of fatal car crashes per year.29
In Tulare County heavily-traveled, pothole-littered roads in “many of these unincorporated communities have not seen a road grater for 40 years” as stated by Chairman Allen Ishida of County’s Board of Supervisors.30 It will take an estimated 30 years to improve these sorts of roads in Tulare County.31