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Woodward gets rep as drag strip
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Woodward Avenue is getting a reputation as a deadly place these days.

The once quiet two-lane country road has morphed into one of the key streets serving Manteca’s rapidly growing residential developments south of the 120 Bypass.

Sunday’s traffic deaths were the second and third in 18 months along Woodward Avenue. The other was a grandfather who was midway across Woodward Avenue in a crosswalk while pushing his grandson in a stroller to reach Woodward Park.

There have also been a number of bone crushing collisions including the one early last New Year’ s Day morning involving a high-speed T-bone crash at a four-way stop.

Those who drive the road and live nearby have been pleading with the city to do something for years.

The response has been the same: Safety improvements will come as developments occur and traffic will slow as more people buy homes.

That’s what makes Sunday’s accident ironic. The very thing that works to slow down traffic contributed indirectly to the death of the motorcyclists.

Actually, that’s not fair to the city. The only reason the roundabout just put in place at Al Fonseca Lane was a factor was because of the dangerous manner in which the victims were apparently driving their motorcycles.

The official investigation is far from being done but the scene and witnesses all point to the motorcycles moving at a high rate of speed and ignoring traffic signs.

Manteca Police are correct when they point out 85 percent of the drivers adhere to the speed limit with most of the others going a bit over.

But that said Woodward Avenue has clearly become a drag strip of sorts for a small handful of people every day.

It is why in the past five years no less than six trees and street light standards along Woodward between Buena Vista Drive and Pillsbury Road have been sheared in two by cars spinning out of control after colliding with another vehicle. This section of Woodward has also seen more than its share of vehicles end up on their sides or turned over.

The stretch is nice and wide with no obstructions yet it is a magnet for accidents. The reason is excessive speed and reckless driving. In other words a few people have turned it into a drag strip.

Perhaps the city might want to consider a mid-year budget adjustment and divert $250,000 that will flow into the Assignment for Economic Revitalization from property taxes and hire and equip another traffic officer for the Manteca Police Department for the purpose of targeted enforcement much like they are doing with the community resource officer with the homeless issue.

The officer could initially be assigned primarily to the Woodward Avenue corridor and nearby streets to issue tickets.

The road is an accident waiting to happen given the many kids walking along where it narrows to get to and from school. 

There is little doubt the council will approve a crosswalk with temporary solar-powered flashers posted on warning signs on Woodward at Pagola Avenue when they take up the item at Tuesday’s 7 p.m. council meeting. The intersection is where a growing number of kids cross to reach Veritas School.

While they’re at it they might want to inquire about the status of the inoperable crosswalk safety flashers on Woodward Avenue at Wellington Avenue.

It is also probably time to look at strategies to passively slow traffic on the entire length of Woodward.

The odds are more people are interested in that instead of the next big deal the city negotiates for an employer.


The most expensive

housing next to

Manteca homeless


The latest “super” encampment of homeless is in the shadow of Manteca’s most exclusive apartment complex.

Just on the other side of the sound wall that separates Paseo Villas and 737-square-foot one bedroom apartments that rent for $1,590 a month and a two bedroom version in 1,217 square feet topping out at $1,910 a month are a cluster of tents and makeshift shelters.

They are hidden among trees and shrubs between the sound wall and the eastbound lanes of the 120 Bypass as they climb toward the Van Ryn Avenue overcrossing. It’s an area that is not uncommon for cars to roll down embankments as the results of the infamous 120 Bypass rear-end crashes. And they are within 200 feet of where a massive truck trailer flipped off the elevated bypass and fell onto Van Ryn Drive in early July.

Caltrans does periodically clear out such encampments that are now popping up illegally on the north side of the Bypass as well.


Would you like

to buy a bag?

The seven words thousands of Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop consumers have been hearing in the past few days at supermarkets, convenience and liquor stores as well as places like Target, Kmart and Wal-Mart?

“Would you like to buy a bag?”

California voters’ decision Tuesday to institute the first statewide ban on single use plastic bag was quickly implemented. Stores such as Target offered an upgraded sturdier multiple use plastic bag with handles for a dime — the required charge under the new state law. Others opted for recycled paper bags.

Many consumers already were using the cloth-like recyclable bags that can easily post 100 plus re-uses. If you were looking to buy the low-cost ones that stores offer with their advertising on them, they were gone within several days of the election.

While the ban is new for Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon more than 150 cities and counties had already prohibited single use plastic bags.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated 15 billion single use plastic bags were given out to consumers in 2015.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email