Woodward Avenue could revert to two lanes east of Main Street to Bridewell Avenue to generate 160 more parking spaces.
A lane reduction plan will be presented to the Manteca City Council during Tuesday’s 7 p.m. meeting at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.
The proposal is an outgrowth of ongoing issues in the neighborhoods surrounding Woodward Park that have to deal with high speed traffic during rush hours plus hundreds of cars parked in their neighborhoods from people trying to access major regional soccer tournaments on the weekend at the park. It is also connected with concerns voiced by parents about the safety of children trying to cross the five-lane Woodward Avenue (including the turn lane) going to and from Woodward School or Woodard Park. Traffic often exceeds the posted 40 mph speed limit.
Assistant City Manager Karen McLaughlin noted that while anyone can park on residential streets the city has received complaints over the past few years from neighbors frustrated with people who use the park that will double park and block driveways.
The city is also going ahead with the placement of a 70 stall parking lot on the southeast corner of the 52-acre park. McLaughlin noted that during major events all possible parking is needed. The cost of the parking is being paid for with fees collected on growth for community park facilities.
Staff is presenting the council with two options - one that allows parallel parking and the other that includes diagonal parking. The diagonal version would create 240 spaces with 160 of them being diagonal. But to reach that number, the median landscaping would need to be removed and the subsequent holes filled and paved over.
The parallel version does not require moving the median. Instead it would require about $20,000 in stripping which includes bike lanes plus other changes when combined with the placement of a crosswalk on Woodward at Buena Vista Drive. The most likely source of funds for the work would be Measure K sales tax and restricted taxes collected by the state for the purpose of paying for the creation of bike lanes.
Staff is recommending that crosswalk be a “high visibility” crosswalk. That means it calls for bulb outs on both sides extending from the corner to shorten the distance between the two sides of the street plus the creation of a pedestrian refuge island at the mid-point of the road. That essentially would create two separate crosswalks connected by the island. There would also be a flashing overhead beacon put in place and other signage making motorists aware of the crosswalk.
By going with parallel parking only, it leaves the door open to the possibility of converting the street back to four lanes of traffic if the need arises.
A two-lane roadway can handle 14,600 vehicles a day and still meet the city’s targeted service level. The segment of Woodward by the park currently carries 6,300 vehicles a day.
The city has already permanently changed the plans for Woodward Avenue west of Main Street to its western terminus to construct it as a wide two lane street with a landscaped median instead of the previously adopted four lanes.
Atherton Drive, which is just to the north, is four lanes. The missing segment between Main Street and a point west of Wellington Avenue will be constructed this summer. That is expected to initially reduce traffic loads on Woodward Avenue.