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Traffic is the worst on N. Main by Bypass

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POSTED April 2, 2018 2:19 a.m.

The top four heaviest traveled street segments in Manteca are adjacent to freeway interchanges.

The worst is Main Street north of the 120 Bypass.

Traffic counts conducted in the fall of 2016 place the average daily traffic for a 24-hour period on that segment of pavement at 26,600 vehicles.

In terms of levels of service a report by a consultant of current city conditions given to the General Plan Advisory Committee that meets tonight at 6 o’clock in the Manteca Transit Center, 220 Moffat Blvd., on transportation and circulation, the traffic levels on the stretch of North Main Street between the 120 Bypass and Mission Ridge Drive/Industrial Park Drive is acceptable for service levels the city gas targeted in the current general plan.

The service level in a perfect model is met if the traffic count doesn’t exceed 35,300 vehicles a day. Counts were taken around Manteca at various locations over two-day periods in 2016 on either Oct. 25-26 or Nov. 9-10.  All counts were taken on school days. The consultant’s report stated that “no unusual traffic conditions were observed, and weather conditions were generally dry.”

Four spot checks on the block in recent days tell a different story. On Thursday at 3:30 p.m., Friday at 1:20 p.m. and 4:10 p.m., and Saturday at 7:45 p.m. traffic did not meet all of the service level criteria outlined in the existing general plan.

That’s because traffic waiting to turn left onto Mission Ridge is backing up vehicles into the intersection with the 120 westbound off ramp at Main and onto the bridge. The bulk of the traffic was headed to Wal-Mart, Safeway and nearby stores. Such backup is routine in the mornings and afternoons week days as well as on weekends as it has been observed repeatedly without a notation of time.

The upcoming Main Street pavement project from Yosemite Avenue to Atherton Drive that will include putting bicycle lanes near the curb in both directions along Manteca’s busiest north-south corridor doesn’t address the problem. It will, however, improve pavement conditions on the stretch from the freeway off-ramps to Mission Ridge that arguably have been the worst for a major arterial in Manteca for five years running.

Manteca could increase the queue for the two left lane pockets by one vehicle each by reworking the median. The only effective solution would be to eliminate left turns from southbound Main Street into the small shopping complex anchored by Dairy Queen and Leslie Pools as well as a turn pocket into the U-Haul center. That would require the city doing something previous councils have shown little stomach to do — restricting mid-block left turn movements to either enhance traffic flow or safety.

The current conditions report notes congested street segments in the central district — primarily in downtown — have been deemed acceptable by city leaders. That is a concession to reality that the city is limited by narrow streets that would require an expensive major taking of property to remedy.

The City Council last year did take a step toward easing part of the central district congestion by having staff pursue a plan to eliminate parking on North Main Street between Yosemite Avenue and Alameda Street to allow four through lanes of traffic. The plan would use a traffic signal sequence similar to north-south traffic on Spreckels/Industrial Park Drive where it crosses Moffat. One direction would go at a time allowing left and right turns as well as through movements on a green light.

There is only one segment of roadway in Manteca currently not meeting service standards outlined in the existing general plan that serves as the blueprint for growth and guideline to implement various municipal services. 

The segment is Lathrop Road between Union Road and Sherwood Avenue where the average daily count for vehicles was 19,300 while the service level target calls for a maximum of 18,600.

The other eight in the top 10 street segments for the most traffic based on the number of vehicles traveling them during an average 24-hour period are:

u25,400 on Yosemite Avenue between the entrance to El Rancho Mobile Home Park and Highway 99.

u25,200 on Yosemite Avenue between Cottage Avenue and Highway 99.

u20,000 on Union Road between Mission Ridge Drive and the 120 Bypass.

u20,000 on Yosemite Avenue between Union Road and Airport Way.

u18,000 on Daniels Street west of Airport Way heading toward Costco.

u17,500 on Union Road from Crom Street to Louise Avenue.

u17,300 on Airport Way from Daniels Street to Yosemite Avenue.

u17,399 on Louise Avenue from Yosemite Avenue to Union Road.

Unlike the segment of Lathrop Road referenced above for failing to meet targeted service levels, the other nine streets are four lane arterials and not two lanes. As such, they go out of compliance based on the model established by the Transportation Research Board in their Highway Capacity Manual when vehicle traffic exceeds 35,300 on ab average day.

 

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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