Twenty three months ago residents south of Woodward Park petitioned the City Council for a crosswalk on Woodward Avenue at Buena Vista Drive.
The council agreed it was needed and directed staff to pursue the matter.
Since then, that proposed crosswalk and two others have come back before the council on several occasions. Each time the staff said it needed more study or that they were backlogged with other pressing projects.
The Buena Vista/Woodward crosswalk is back before the council on Tuesday. But it won’t be any closer to becoming a reality.
Instead staff is asking council to authorize spending up to $19,000 to retain the services of a qualified traffic consultant to complete preliminary engineering to determine appropriate pedestrian and traffic calming facilities at the three locations. Besides Woodward and Buena Vista, the other intersections are Atherton at Wellington and Cottage at Brookdale.
The city has been doing traffic counts and speed surveys at each location. That work will be completed by the end of the month.
Staff believes it will take a consultant four to six weeks to complete the analysis and provide suitable alternatives. The selected alternative would be included in the city’s Capital Improvement Plan for 2013-14.
The cost of improvements could range from $5,000 for a basic crosswalk and signs up to $50,000 or more for a crosswalk with actuated controls such as the one with pavement level flashers warning drivers there are pedestrians that is at Woodward and Wellington.
Parents first started expressing concerns about the safety of their children crossing Woodward Avenue back in the spring of 2010 when the Manteca Unified School District was forced to drastically cut back on bus service due to the budget crisis. That took Paseo West neighborhood kids off buses and required them to walk to Woodward School.
Back in April 2011 when the council approved a crosswalk for Woodward at Buena Vista there was some discussion that it would be the first crosswalk in Manteca stripped in what is known as the triple four patterns that consists of two lines of solid squares from curb-to-curb. Existing city crosswalks primarily consist of dual solid lines curb-to-curb or several with solid bar markings such as appear on a crossing midway between North Street and the Highway 99 overcrossing on Cottage Avenue.
Staff at the time also recommended that the crosswalk be a “high visibility” crosswalk. That means 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. The council also made it clear they wanted signs warning motorists of a crosswalk ahead.
Whether all of those elements are still needed will be determined by the consultant if the council opts to spend up to $19,000 to hire one.
The City Council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.