Making it clear that Manteca has to look down the road the City Council directed staff to start a process that could ultimately lead to making Main Street four lanes through the central district.
It was one of four decisions elected officials made Tuesday that will have a significant impact at enhancing pedestrian and bicycle safety, providing for smoother driving on two of Manteca’s major streets, and remove the much maligned bulb-outs in the 100 block of North Main Street.
The actions were to:
uwork toward making Main Street four lanes from Yosemite Avenue to Alameda Street.
uproceed with a $2.1 million grade separated bicycle and pedestrian crossing over the 120 Bypass at the Union Road interchange.
urepaving Main Street from Atherton Drive to Yosemite Avenue next spring.
urepaving Yosemite Avenue from Spreckels/Cottage Avenue to Main Street and adding a highly visible, 5-foot wide solid green bicycle lane in each direction. Work would start after the school year ends in May.
uhave city crews removed the most problematic bulbs in the 100 block of North Main Street. The rest would be taken out when work is done on Main Street from Yosemite Avenue to Alameda Street.
Public Works Director Mark Houghton’s suggestion that the council might want to “call a time out” and sort out the future needs of the Main Street corridor instead of proceeding with revamping the 100 block of North Main in concert with the paving project from Yosemite to Avenue met with unanimous approval from the council.
“The goal is clearly to get four lanes to connect North Manteca and South Manteca,” Houghton said.
The next steps are to do a feasibility study and prepare an environmental document prior to designing and construction necessary improvements to make Main Street four lanes from Yosemite Avenue to Alameda Street.
Houghton noted on-street parking would have to be eliminated. He also added it could mean slivers of sidewalks along the corridor would have to be taken to provide adequate passage for four lanes.
There are currently two lanes with parking on each side of the street.
“We really need to go to four lanes on the whole street,” Councilman Richard Silverman noted.
Silverman said he has made an effort to travel Main Street a number of times during the past week at different hours of the day and night. As for the parking, he said during a trip Monday at 11:30 a.m. he counted only seven parked vehicles on the street between Alameda Street and Center Street.
He conceded not having on-street parking could create some issues for events at the FEM Hall that typically take place in the evenings once a week but added that hall users will simply need to make adjustments.
“What we don’t want to do is bring this back in three to four years and spend more money,” Councilman Mike Morowit said.
He was referencing the original proposal to convert the 100 block of Main from its current two lanes with parking on each side and left turn pockets to two southbound lanes and one northbound lane with turn lanes and no parking and then having to come back at some point and convert it to four lanes.
Councilman Gary Singh, who has long advocated the four-lane solution, lauded the staff proposal, noted it was “sound planning for the future.”
He noted as the city grows — it is expected to be 124,900 residents by 2040 from the current population of 76,000 — traffic on the Main Street corridor will only increase.
Councilwoman Debby Moorhead asked that the most problematic bulbs in the 100 block of North Main Street where travel lanes narrow the most be taken out as soon as possible. Houghton indicated city crews will be able to do that work.
She related how over the years she has seen people strike the bulbs outs and blow out tires. She cited one incident on a bulb that has seen been removed in front of Wells Fargo where a vehicle struck it and the driver monetarily lost control and nearly struck a pedestrian on the sidewalk.
Mayor Steve DeBrum the city had to “plan for the future by thinking out of the box.” he noted by moving to four lanes now the city will be addressing not only existing congestion but will also make traffic flow the best it can possibly be on Main Street as the city grows.
The effort to improve traffic flow will be boosted by nearly $2 million in federal funds the city has received to upgrade and modernize traffic signal controllers. It will allow maximum efficient movement and coordination between signals. It would allow optimum traffic flows.
Commenting about the 120 Bypass bicycle/pedestrian bridge, Morowit noted there is no safe way to currently cross the freeway if you are on foot or on a bicycle as none of the three overcrossings — Main Street, Union Road, or Airport Way — have sidewalks or concrete barriers separating traffic from pedestrians.
Morowit said the bicycle bride is a much need improvement for enhanced safety.
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