Monday's ribbon-cutting and grand opening for the Tehachapi Park and Ride transit center in downtown highlighted more public parking and recognized the importance of partnerships in completing the project.

“It was direct collaboration between the city of Tehachapi, Kern Council of Governments, and Kern County,” said Bob Snoddy, regional planner for Kern COG. He added, “We can bring together large regional projects and make multiyear commitments, even though they are in small rural communities.”

Bus shelters are now installed and all riders should meet at the new bus center, located on the north and south sides of Tehachapi Boulevard between Mill and Pauley streets — not in front of the Tehachapi Burger King.

More than 100 parking spaces are now available to the public to use when visiting for events or commuting to work.

Jay Schlosser, city development services director, said at least 68 percent of the community leaves the city every day to travel for work, and the additional parking will help businesses in the area where people shop and “help centralize the parking.”

Pedestrian crosswalks and bus shelters on both sides of Tehachapi Boulevard are included in the project. The project cost comes between $1.6 and $1.7 million. Partnerships with Kern Regional Transit, Kern COG, RC Becker Construction, and others made the project possible, added Schlosser.

The one acre of property is owned by Union Pacific Railroad and will be leased for 15 years; afterward, it will be renewed annually. The city is to pay $17,390 per year to lease the location.

“This is absolutely wonderful,” said Mayor Susan Wiggins. She added, “Now there will be additional space and people will soon be taking advantage of the parking in our downtown, because (the area) is very walkable and I’m excited when the Tehachapi Mountain Festival begins.”