View Mobile Site

Pedestrians in Manteca: They’re collateral damage

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED August 22, 2009 2:52 a.m.
Just how safe is it being a pedestrian in Manteca?

Not very judging by what one encounters along East Yosemite Avenue between downtown and Pestana Avenue whether it is physical issues with the sidewalk and the condition of property as well as typical vehicle movements.

Before going farther, though, I need to emphasize there are some incredibly courteous drivers out there who actually pay attention to pedestrians.

What prompted this column was my latest adventure coming face-to-face with a sidewalk. It has happened three times now over nine years on this stretch of East Yosemite. The first time was when Caltrans took their sweet time removing uplifted sidewalk caused by trees in front of the Best Western and I tripped. The second was when I slipped on gravel near the Union 76 station after picking up my pace to avoid getting hit by someone turning behind me to access El Polo Loco.

The last time was Friday when is slipped on a combination of sand and water in front of Jack-in-the-Box that has had the back flow leaking for a good six months. Each time I looked pretty much as I did today – a bloody and banged up knee as well as my wrist and elbow. This time I had the added fun of jamming my fingers on my right hand.

Except for the gravel and the car at Union 76, I am well aware of the obstacles I encounter each day I jog to and from In Shape including the collapsed concrete boxes and missing chunk of sidewalk in front of the old Manteca Dodge dealership.

I should add bravo for the city for finally getting rid of the tree that lifted up the sidewalk and fixing it in front of the Watermill Express.

The one obstacle, though, that is completely inexcusable is in front of the Jack-in-the-Box. The back flow device has been leaking for months. I’ve seen elderly people gingerly transverse it.  I’ve gone across it on winter mornings when it was slippery. Friday was my unlucky day. Property owners have a big responsibility. Mishaps are going to happen. However, they can easily elevate into bone breaking situations or worse. This isn’t a problem that just cropped up. Ultimately, unless someone fixes it, there will be a big problem that no one will like.

McDonald’s across the way finally removed a massive oleander bush that was blocking the visual line to the west for both pedestrians and costumers exiting the parking lot.

And while we’re on the subject of overgrown vegetation, there are plenty of issues with that hanging over sidewalks and impeding safe passage for people in wheelchairs in Manteca including in the 600 block of East Yosemite.

People should put themselves in the place of the elderly, young mothers pushing carriages or those in wheelchairs. Forget people like me. We can fend for ourselves.

Now for the real scary part of being a pedestrian: The inattentive and impatient drivers.

I never believe I am safe when the white walk light comes on and the light is green.  Pedestrians for some drivers are non-existent. Forget about clearing the crosswalk. I’m just happy when you get a hot shot driver waiting on a red who doesn’t come so close to me after I pass them in the crosswalk that they don’t clip me.

I’ve crossed the northbound off ramp from Highway 99 after the light has been red for 10 seconds and have people who have a good minute or so to wait for a green light for the left turn creep into the crosswalk. It is why I now go outside of the crosswalk in order not to get nudged.

I’ve had drivers turn right when I’ve got the white cross signal and the green light right in front of me when I’m almost at the mid-point of the crosswalk. About 50 percent of the time they have a cell phone to their ear.

I take nothing for granted. Occasionally I make bozo misjudgments and barely clear it. To be honest, though, in most cases I had already committed when conditions were safe only to have someone decide they can’t slow down and wait a few seconds. It is amazing the number of people who believe it is perfectly OK when they see a pedestrian in a crosswalk to actually speed up especially when they want to turn right.

To be fair, we’re talking perhaps 1 in 50 drivers who are blatant about their disregard for pedestrians and general rules of the road. I’m just thankful for the other 49.
Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...