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An idea to make driving Spreckels a bit sweeter
The city may look at making the curbside lane on southbound Spreckels Avenue at Moffat Boulevard as a right turn only lane. - photo by HIME ROMERO

It is frustrating enough when trains block the Spreckels Avenue railroad crossing.

But it can be downright maddening for motorists wanting to turn right onto westbound Moffat Boulevard when they get stuck in backed up traffic

It is a point three Manteca drivers made to Councilman Steve DeBrum.

DeBrum brought up their concern during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. He wants city staff to look at the feasibility of making the curbside lane a right turn only lane. That may require modifying the other three lanes. Currently two lanes turn left onto Moffat and the other goes through as does the curbside lane.

Changing the lane that is one over from the center to either a through lane or a left turn/through lane would be one fix. That would still leave two left lanes and two through lanes.

Traffic that turns left onto Moffat goes down to one lane within several hundred feet.

Such a move would also eliminate another driving frustration. Those who use the center lane southbound on Spreckels now have to merge to the right in order to cross Moffat.

Public Works Director Mark Houghton said that is a reasonable request. He said staff will look into possible modifications.

That effort will be made easier by the fact the city is now training an existing staff engineer to handle traffic engineering duties in addition to two other primary tasks. The city hasn’t had a traffic engineer since the retirement of Dave Vickers roughly four years ago. The position was not filled due to budget cutbacks.

“It has left us with a backlog of traffic related issues,” Houghton said.

Houghton stressed that it will take a while for the city to catch up with issues brought up by residents.

The public work director noted that the city eventually will need to address speed on Spreckels Avenue especially near Norman Drive by Target.

There have been a number of accidents there including pedestrians being struck. In the case of pedestrian accidents, one vehicle usually stops for a pedestrian to allow them to enter the crosswalk while a vehicle in the adjoining lane doesn’t and ends up hitting the pedestrian.

Although there has never been any formal remedies identified for the intersection, in the past some have suggested traffic signals or a crossing walk enhancement with flashing lights  similar to that on Woodward Avenue at Wellington Avenue and one in downtown Stockton crossing El Dorado Street between the waterfront park and the cinema-restaurant complex.