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Manteca enables dangerous turns along E. Yosemite east of Highway 99

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POSTED August 12, 2009 2:26 a.m.
It is time to revisit East Yosemite Avenue traffic flow.

Caltrans – an authority on the safe and efficient movement of traffic – over a decade ago lobbied Manteca’s elected leaders at the time to allow for a concrete divider from Pestana Avenue to Highway 99. It received a gigantic thumbs down at the time, basically because the manager of the Burger King led a charge that contended it would kill off business.

Burger King, of course, went belly up several years later and that was with unrestricted left turns in and out of the fast food place and increased traffic heading to and from the Sierra.

As part of the requirement to get signals at Vascocncellos Avenue, the front entrance at El Rancho Mobile Home Park ended up with a no left turn sign. It was the only hammer Caltrans could apply and it would make great sense had similar prohibitions between El Rancho and Highway 99 at various private businesses been put in place as well.

Now that the traffic signals are in there are more than a few El Rancho residents making illegal left turns out of the mobile home park.

Caltrans did not do this as an act of ageism as some El Rancho residents now contend. It was part of a bigger and legitimate concern they had about traffic flow and safety on East Yosemite Avenue that does double duty as East Highway 120.

Manteca’s current leaders need to be pro-active.  At a minimum there needs to be an extension of  concrete curbing from the island on the east side of the Highway 99 overpass to just beyond the ARCO gas station driveways with perhaps a left turn pocket for traffic heading west to get into El Pollo Loco.

A day doesn’t go by in the afternoon that backed up traffic in the far left westbound lane doesn’t block the view of someone trying to turn into the ARCO station from moving traffic in the next two lanes.

The short distance between the off ramps and the entrance to the Union 76 and Wendy’s create even more precarious issues. There are simply too many unrestricted turn movements that are possible way too close to Manteca’s heaviest used interchange. There needs to be an end to unrestricted left turns across the busy thoroughfare.

Time and time again elected leaders give into the argument that doing the right thing for the entire community is going to be detrimental to business whether it is in good times or bad times.

The City Council a few years back was poised to make Main Street four lanes through downtown when they jettisoned months of research and such when a guy who owned a termite firm in the old Deli House in the 200 block of Main Street stood up and said eliminating on-street parking would kill his drop-in business as he was struggling. A well-known downtown activist then chimed in their support of saying no to four lanes, as it would kill business. That prompted a split council to pull the plug on four lanes through downtown on Main Street.

Forget the fact two surveys were done to note how many cars were parked on the street throughout the day and the number came back extremely low due to off-street parking options. That decision, by the way, set in motion the bulbs which some of the every people who spoke up against four lanes through downtown now claim they don’t want,

It was absurd to even believe that a termite company survives on drop-in business. The firm went out of business anyway.

Perhaps the reason he was struggling during a major economic expansion was because the market was saturated with termite companies. It is not the obligation of the city to make sure each and every person who wants to go into business succeeds especially when it is at the cost of doing the better public good.

The right thing, in the case of East Yosemite Avenue, is to extend a concrete curb at least half the distance to Pestana Avenue from Highway 99.

If the city can cobble together a plan to add landscaping at the Highway 120 Bypass and Highway 99 interchange on top of the Highway 99/East Yosemite Avenue interchange as they go after federal stimulus dollars, they certainly can add the pouring of some cement to the project.
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