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$1M plan wont reduce N. Main traffic backup
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There are days when southbound traffic on North Main Street trying to clear the Yosemite Avenue intersection is backed up almost to Alameda Street.
The city is preparing to spend $1 million in September to rework lane configurations in the 100 block of 100 North Main Street that will do  virtually nothing to ease the traffic backup that prompts frustrated motorists to block the Center Street intersections as traffic signals are changing.
The $1 million will ease the northbound congestion — which rarely backs up as far as even Moffat Boulevard.
That will likely mean that when the $1 million is spent the city will not have addressed  traffic flow in the 100 block of North Main Street as effectively as they can within the physical limitations.  It will also mean that when the last stripe is painted on the new pavement that the City Council will likely get an earful about how southbound traffic on North Main is as bad as ever.
The 100 block in North Main Street had one through lane in each direction up until 1992.
That’s when a traffic consultant convinced the city they needed two southbound lanes in the 100 block of North Main Street.
Then 12 years later in 2004 another traffic consultant sold the city on one through lane in each direction.
Now the city — instead of exploring a traffic signal configuration that would allow two through lanes in each direction as well as protected left turns — is pursuing a $1 million plan that will put two northbound lanes in place in the 100 block of North Main Street. Two through lanes in each direction with protected left turn lanes would require sequencing traffic signals  to allow one direction of Main Street traffic to move at a time through the Yosemite Avenue and Center Street intersections. That would be made progressively easy to fine tune with more than $3.2 million in traffic signal control system modifications Manteca is preparing to make citywide using a federal grant.
The current North Main Street configuration was part of $3.1 million Manteca spent in 2005  to upgrade six blocks of downtown with Tidewater-style street lights, traffic signals, as well as street furniture such as benches plus install trees, and landscaping bulb-outs.
Twelve  years later the city is getting ready to spend $1 million on the 100 block of North Main Street to rip out six bulb-outs and reconfigure traffic lanes and medians.
The City Council in April of 2016 directed staff to remove the much maligned bulb-outs. Staff recommended timing the work with the $1.8 million pavement rehabilitation project for Main Street between Yosemite Avenue and Atherton Drive. By combining the two endeavors, the city said it will be able to minimize traffic disruption, keep costs down, and avoid tearing up the Main Street and Yosemite Avenue intersection twice while paving and adjusting signals.
When work is done the pavement will be continuous on Main Street from Center Street to Atherton Drive by avoiding stops and starts and seams in the asphalt created when projects are done in phases.
The City Council when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St., will be updated on the bulb-out removal project.
When done the 100 block of North Main will have:
uNo landscaping bulb-outs left. Originally there were eight but two had been removed since they were all installed in 2005 due to them being struck by numerous motorists turning into the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot and pulling out of the alley next to Manteca Bedquarters.
uNarrower travel lanes at 10 feet wide compared to the current 12 feet. There will be two southbound lanes and one northbound lane.
uMedians will be relocated and made narrower to allow for more vehicles in left turn pockets onto Center Street and East Yosemite Avenue.
uBike lanes on both sides of the street.
uNo on-street parking.
The 100 block of North Main Street has been the bane of motorists and the center of controversy ever since the city in 1992 adopted a traffic consultant’s recommendation to ban left turns from southbound Main onto East Yosemite Avenue as part of a way to mitigate changed traffic patterns on Main Street after Wal-Mart opened.  The left turn ban allowed two lanes of south bound traffic to flow. That decision was also ultimately reversed as well.
When all is said and done, left turn capacity onto Center Street from northbound Main and onto Yosemite from southbound Main will be improved only by a couple of vehicles.
Given that the three travel lanes and median turn lane are all 10 feet the city could put two through lanes in each direction along with the bike lanes by having traffic on Main Street go one direction at a time through signals at Center and Yosemite to allow protected left turns.
The city council never asked for that option to be explored in April of 2016. Instead they were more focused on getting rid of the controversial bulb-outs and not looking at overall traffic flow.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email