Councilman Richard Silverman believes Manteca does not need another “squeezy.”
Silverman — who has taken it upon himself to rail against the creation of missing street sections on major roads as Manteca develops — believes one “squeezy” is one too many.
He lauded developers Mike Atherton and Toni Raymus during last week’s City Council meeting after they indicated they were working with a property owner to avoid another street gap being created such as has existed on Louise Avenue just east of North Main Street for more than 40 years where two lanes go down to one then back to two lanes.
Atherton Homes and Raymus Homes are pursuing development of 1,532 homes on 334 acres south of Atherton Drive and west of Main Street. They are committed to widening the east side of the eventually four-lane wide South Main Street corridor that also calls for a turn lane/medians from a point roughly midway between Atherton Drive and Woodward Avenue to Sedan Road.
At the same time, developers are working on a shopping center anchored by SaveMart supermarket on the southwest corner of Atherton and Main that would also be required to widen the east side of Main Street. That would leave one parcel with undeveloped frontage effectively creating a gap of 200 feet or so that would be left as the existing, narrower roadway and marked with barricades.
Silverman said he was disappointed that the city hadn’t tried to do the same resolution on Pillsbury Road at Atherton Drive where a short stretch of a narrow, former country road essentially chokes traffic flow before widening given hundreds of homes are now being built in the area.
Similar and relatively short “squeezies” exist elsewhere such as on Union Road just south of Woodward Avenue.
The recently updated Public Facilities Improvement Plan road fee identifies such street segments that already exist as being eligible for funds collected from growth to widen roadways.
Moving forward, Silverman has embraced an idea advanced by staff that an area of benefit or similar mechanisms be explored to put such segments in place when development occurs but small gaps are left along major or key roads in front of property that isn’t likely to develop anytime soon.
Manteca historically does not put major roads — arterials or collectors — in place. Instead developers have been responsible for building or widening roads as growth occurs typically from the edge of their property to the centerline of the ultimate street corridor.
Up until 2000, Union Road between the 120 Bypass and Lathrop Road narrowed to two lanes from four lanes in three places even though the nearly 3-mile stretch had been almost completely developed except for several small parcels.
The efforts of Atherton and Raymus — if they are successful in not creating another squeezy — will be dampened somewhat because of what is on the east side of Main Street between Atherton Drive and Woodward Avenue. A barricade marks the end of the wider Main Street as northbound traffic nears Atherton Drive where it reverts to the county road that was in place when Manteca annexed the area into the city. Then from Atherton Drive to the 120 Bypass it is still the same narrow former country road.
This routinely creates a bottleneck during commute hours and on Saturdays at various times as traffic backs up from the freeway off-ramp signal to Atherton Drive.
The updated PFIP plan calls for the stretch of Main between the freeway and Atherton to be widened to six lanes and the section just south of Atherton to four lanes.
Silverman also noted that the two local builders have also taken a lead in another issue that impacts the quality of life in Manteca — making sure Manteca Unified has a funding mechanism in place through Mello-Roos districts to help pay for new schools.
Raymus and Atherton have already agreed to place the 334-acre Griffin Park project into a Mello Roos district.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com