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Vines won’t be planted on Louise sound walls

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POSTED October 27, 2013 10:48 p.m.

Manteca won’t be planting vines along sound walls on the Louise Avenue corridor as part of a $1 million federally funded transit enhancement project.

City staff determined that sound walls are too short for vines. They also noted the vines would go into the backyards of adjoining homes plus would intrude on the walkway.

Instead of vines, the city will soften the looks of the sound walls by tearing out concrete between tree wells and planting low shrubbery. That way the sidewalk will remain unobstructed.

Some had hoped vines would be used to not only hide the sound walls but also reduce graffiti problems.

The council authorized bids to be sought for the project that could get underway in the next few months.

The project involves a two-mile stretch of Louise Avenue from Airport Way to Main Street.

It will not eliminate any current turn movements at intersections.

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.

Staff had 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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