Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
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Westchester or other close-to-downtown neighborhoods are another decent option; downtown seems to be making a (painfully) slow but stead comeback the past several years, and some of the older houses around Westchester are nice.
Other good news is that biking is a decent option most of the year so long as you don't mind the summer afternoon heat and are careful not to go out in the pea-soup fog in the winter. The SUV-sized roads are pretty wide, and although most motorists aren't terribly bike-aware, there are so few pedestrians on the sidewalks that you can often ride up there. There is also a good bike path along the Kern river which will get you close to Downtown from any neighborhood along the river corridor. http://www.bakersfieldcity.us/recreation/Kern_River_Parkway.htm
Public transport is also an option (the GET bus), although it is pretty limited in its scope. Still, it may get you to the Valley Plaza (the mall) or downtown from outer neighborhoods.
Hope this is helpful.