The third crosswalk warning system may go in along Woodward Avenue.
Manteca municipal staff is recommending spending $12,000 for a temporary measure to put in place a “highly visible” crosswalk with a pole-mounted warning sign with solar powered flashers at Pagola and Woodward avenues.
The intersection is 600 feet south of Veritas School. It is crossed by kindergarten and eighth grade students going to and from the elementary campus from the new Blossom Grove and Milner Estates neighborhoods that are now under construction. As more and more homes go up south of Woodward Avenue, traffic has increased on the road significantly as has the number of children walking to and from school.
The Manteca City Council will consider the expenditure when they meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.
A parent inquired in August about a crosswalk for the intersection. They were told there were no plans for a crosswalk at that time. Staff, however, went out and assessed the situation again and determined conditions now exist under the City Council adopted Pedestrian Safety and Crosswalk Installation Guidelines to place not just a crosswalk at the location but one that was highly visible.
Manteca Public Works Director Mark Houghton is recommending the interim measure that will cost $12,000 until such time funding is secured for a permanent solution. That would involve an overhead flasher similar to what was installed on Woodward Avenue at Buena Vista Drive earlier this year. The interim set-up— that could be in place in eight weeks if the council approved it on Tuesday — would be similar to the one at Brookdale Way and Cottage Avenue in East Manteca.
Councilman Richard Silverman praised staff for taking a second look at the situation after a concern was raised by a parent.
Silverman said he plans to inquire whether the interim installation that includes the solar powered flashing beacons could be re-used elsewhere once the permanent solution is in place.
Staff indicated the permanent solution will be placed on the list of capital improvement projects that need funding for 2017.
The other crosswalk warning system on Woodward Avenue is at Wellington Avenue. The in-ground warning flashers at that location have fallen out of favor with the city staff and council.
The flashers have been out of order at Wellington Avenue for three weeks.
The city’s nimble response to a crosswalk safety request is in sharp contrast to the Woodward Avenue and Buena Vista Drive intersection. Back in 2011 after Manteca Unified increased the walking distances to elementary schools after bus service was reduced due to budget cuts, 911 residents north of Woodward Avenue signed a petition to put flashing beacons at Buena Vista Drive for children walking to and from Woodward School as well as Woodward Park. The council agreed to put them in but then it got bogged down at staff. Finally in 2013 the council commissioned a study to determine the flashing beacon was justified. After it was completed they authorized the installation of the beacons that are activated when a pedestrian pushes a button.
Since the death of three pedestrians in an 18-month period including a first grader walking to Shasta School and a grandfather who was pushing his grandson in a stroller at the midpoint of crossing Woodward Avenue, the council has been more aggressive on insisting quicker action on pedestrian safety issues.
They went as far as overruling staff on the new Union Road diverging diamond interchange design to have a separate bridge other the 120 Bypass for pedestrians and bicyclists to reduce the need for them to cross Union Road traffic twice to cross the freeway.
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