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Big distribution center planned off Louise Ave.
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Exeter Properties is proposing Manteca’s largest high cube distribution center yet — an 848,400-square-foot structure accessed from Louise Avenue at an existing intersection controlled by a traffic signal just west of the Manteca Unified School District office complex and school farm.
It will increase traffic on the most congested two-lane road in Manteca during the afternoon commute — Louise Avenue between Airport Way and the Lathrop city limits.
The proposed building would eclipse the city’s largest existing distribution center — Ford Motors Small Parts in Spreckels Park — by almost 300,000 square feet.
The building will go to the north of existing structures in the Pacific Business Park and will back up to the railroad tracks.
The development agreement for the project is going before the Manteca Planning Commission Tuesday at 7 p.m. when they meet at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.
Among traffic mitigations city staff has recommended imposing g on the developer include:
uinstalling a 125-foot long right turn lane on eastbound Lathrop Road turning onto Airport Way.
uadding 100-foot turn lanes on westbound Louise Avenue and southbound McKinley Avenue at the intersection of the two streets.
uupgrading the existing traffic signal at the entrance to Pacific Business Park to Louise Avenue to an eight phase operation for more efficient traffic movement.
Louise Avenue from the railroad tracks that form the city limits with Lathrop to Airport Way is arguably the most congested roadway during afternoon commutes. It is normal for it to take commuters as many as five traffic light changes to clear Airport Way once they get stopped in traffic
Pacific Business Park has already widened the Louise Avenue frontage bordering their property and installed traffic signals a number of years ago.
And while Villa Ticino — a 760-home neighborhood approved in 2004 — is expected to start moving forward in the coming months, the city has no adopted plans to address the overall widening of Louise Avenue from Airport Way to the Lathrop city limits.
While the developers of Villa Ticino West will be obligated to widen Louise Avenue to the centerline from their property, there are two sections that will never be widened based on existing Manteca municipal policy that requires property owners to make street widening improvements when they develop land.
That’s because both sections involve public agency properties that won’t be developing — the Manteca Unified School District office complex and the French Camp drainage outlet canal along with the railroad crossing itself.
The issue of widening Louise along school property frontage was never addressed when the district annexed the property to obtain city water due to a contaminated well.
Unless the work is included in an updated Public Facilitates Implementation Plan growth fee, the city will have no way to fund the work.
It is another example of how Manteca has allowed growth to occur that sends more traffic down roads initially built to carry rural country traffic and not high commute volumes.
To correct a similar railroad crossing issue on Louise Avenue between Airport Way and Union Road, the city had to rely on Measure K funds to widen the crossing.
As things stand now, Louise Avenue is four lanes from Interstate 5 until it reaches the Manteca city limits where to goes down to two lanes until it reaches Airport Way. It then goes back up to four lanes before going down to one lane eastbound just east of Main Street. It then goes back to four lanes  before reverting to two lanes crossing Highway 99 and then going back to four lanes on the east side of the freeway.
The last traffic survey ranked Louise Avenue as among the top four streets in Manteca for traffic volume. The intersection at Louise and Main handles more vehicles each day than any other city intersection.
In the past several years bicyclists and pedestrians have been added to the mix on Louise Avenue west of Airport Way with the establishment of the charter school at the district office complex.
The Pacific Business Park project is moving forward as residents along Lathrop Road and Airport Way are complaining about increased truck traffic.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email