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Overhead flashers going in on Yosemite Ave. by Manteca High
Students cross Yosemite Avenue Wednesday afternoon.

Manteca is planning to significantly upgrade the Yosemite Avenue crosswalk at Garfield Avenue in front of Manteca High.
Public Works Director Mark Houghton said it will involve placing overhead warning flashers just like what is now in place at Buena Vista Drive on Woodward Avenue. The crosswalk — along with others from Main Street to Cottage Avenue — will also be replaced with more visible markings as part of the $1.5 million East Yosemite Avenue rehabilitation project. Work will start in August. It should be finished by fall.
Such flashers are typically activated by pedestrians pushing a mounted button. In some cases they can be programmed to flash at set times as well when school is being dismissed.
On Wednesday, in a spot check of the first 33 students to use the crosswalk only two bothered to look either left or right before entering the crosswalk. One zipped across the intersection at a diagonal on a skateboard while at least a dozen never looked up as they were glancing down at their phones before stepping off the curb and after they entered the crosswalk. A number of those had ear buds plugged in.
In addition, Yosemite Avenue from Main Street to Cottage Avenue will have highly visible 5-foot wide solid green bicycle lanes on both sides of the street between parking stalls and the travel lanes.
It is the latest effort by the City of Manteca to try and enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety throughout Manteca.
The chance of being killed on Manteca’s streets in an auto-related accident has skyrocketed in the last three years.
Fifteen people — a third of them pedestrians — have died in traffic collisions whether they were auto versus pedestrian, vehicle versus vehicle or solo accidents in 2014 (six deaths), 2015 (five deaths) and 2016 (four deaths). That is more deaths combined on Manteca’s streets than were recorded in the previous 12 years.  .
Accidents have been increasing almost three times faster than the population since 2010.  Manteca’s population went from 67,096 in 2010 to 77,000 by the end of 2017 for a 14.7 percent jump. Accidents went from 637 in 2010 to 946 in 2017 for an increase of 45 percent.
During the same time the number of moving violations for speeding, rolling through stop signs, running red lights, texting while driving, failure to yield to pedestrians and such has fallen 43 percent going from 2,019 in 2019 down to 1,155 in 2017. That period also reflects complete years after the city reduced the Manteca Police force in late 2009 by 12 officers effectively decimating the traffic enforcement unit. Last year, Manteca final restored the number of officers to 67. In the meantime Manteca has added 12,000 residents since 2009.
The trend has been upward for overall accidents since 2010.
Manteca’s 15 deaths in the past three years reflects only fatal accidents on city streets and does not include the 120 Bypass or Highway 99 that are under the jurisdiction of the California Highway Patrol .
The city has secured $2.1 million in Measure K funding that is set aside specifically for bicycle and non-motorized transportation from the San Joaquin County Council of Governments.
u$1,440,000 will go toward the cost of Manteca’s first multi-use path and bridge crossing the 120 Bypass that’s designed for bicyclists and pedestrians. The project planned such south of the Union Road interchange carries a price tag of $1.5 million.
u$144,000 to pay for the cost of highly visible solid green bicycle lanes as part of the Yosemite Avenue corridor pavement upgrade project from Main Street to Cottage Avenue that will take place this summer.
u$210,000 to pay for the cost of highly visible solid green bicycle lanes as part of the Main Street corridor pavement upgrade project from Atherton Drive to Yosemite Avenue that will take place this spring.
u$240,000 for developing a Non-motorized Transportation Plan: The plan will highlight development related projects and address connecting existing facilities to other existing facilities as well as connections to future development. The grant is covering 80 percent of the plan’s cost.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email