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Median project may eliminate some left turns along Louise

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Median project may eliminate some left turns along Louise

A median beautification project would eliminate the continuous left turn lanes along segments of Louise Avenue.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED August 17, 2013 1:35 a.m.

Travel convenience, beautification and traffic safety are all clashing in setting up a Manteca City Council decision on Tuesday as to whether left turns at as many as five T-intersections along Louise Avenue between Union Road and Main Street should be eliminated.

The proposal is back before the council Tuesday when they meet at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St. It was postponed from the first meeting of the month out of concern that many who might want to comment on the proposal were unable to attend the meeting since it was changed to three hours earlier due to National Night Out.

The council last meeting approved documents needed by the federal government declaring all of the needed right-of-way for the beautification project was already owned by the city. The federal government is picking up the project’s $1 million tab.

There are two options for eliminating left turn movements.

One includes Agate and Lexington avenues. The other includes those two intersections plus ones at Carmel, Loren and Poplar avenues. There would also be several private and commercial driveways impacted as well.

The project is being undertaken to soften the looks of the Louise Avenue corridor on the two-mile stretch between Airport Way and Main Street that some have dubbed “Manteca Canyons”. The moniker is in reference to sound walls abutting against sidewalks on either side of a five-lane expanse of asphalt with minimal landscaping.

The project is designed to:

• Make the Louise Avenue corridor more visually appealing.

• Provide funding for seal slurry and stripping to create bike lanes.

• Slow down traffic that often exceeds the speed limit.

• Make enhancements without spending any city funds.

• Construct improvements that would be a wash between the cost of maintaining the center median pavement and long-term landscaping care.

Houghton has previously noted numerous studies show that medians and trees tend to slow down traffic. Lanes will also be narrowed somewhat to accommodate bicycle lanes.

The city expects the lanes to increase bicycle traffic. It will also provide a tie into the Tidewater Bikeway that crosses Louise Avenue.

The city was approached by the San Joaquin Council of Governments about federal money that was available only for transportation enhancement but had to be spent in a short time frame.

City staff had already identified improving Louise Avenue with the median but didn’t expect money to be available for years to come.

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