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Industrial easing pain on Main?
Traffic shift drops count at Yosemite/Main
The Industrial Park Drive extension appears to have helped ease traffic somewhat along the Main Street corridor through downtown. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Joe Kelley doesn’t need a traffic study to know what is happening – traffic is slowly dropping off at Manteca’s most notorious intersection for back-ups in the heart of downtown.

“The drop in traffic (at Yosemite and Main) just makes it more of a challenge to attract customers,” said Kelley who owns Kelley Brothers Brewing Co. in downtown Manteca.

The high profile location is what attracted Kelley to the burned out shell of the three-story El Rey Theatre 12 years ago when he and his brother Shon were trying to find the best site for a brewery and restaurant in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

City of Manteca traffic counts over the past 12 years shows that traffic count at Yosemite and Main peaked in 2006 at 28,500 and has steadily been dropping since then. The traffic count in 2009 was 24,800 for a drop of 3,700 vehicles on an average day.

One of the contributors to the drop in traffic is the de facto downtown bypass that went into play when the Industrial Park Drive extension opened in the spring of 2007. The extension connected Spreckels Avenue with Industrial Park Drive and made it possible to go from northeast and east Manteca neighborhoods and retail to reach areas south of downtown along the Main Street corridor.

The 2009 count documented how the changing traffic patterns are impacting downtown.

In 2008, Yosemite and Main was at 25,100 vehicles a day and Spreckels and Yosemite at 21,100. A year later in 2009, the Main and Yosemite intersection dropped 300 vehicles a day while the Yosemite and Spreckels count went up 3,700 vehicles a day for the biggest gain of any intersection in Manteca.

The Moffat/Spreckels/Industrial intersection count was also up significantly in 2009 reaching 14,100 vehicles a day.

It is up close to 9,000 vehicles after the Industrial Park Drive was extended across the railroad tracks at a cost of $5.1 million.

It effectively opened another route to the neighborhoods around Woodward Park via Van Ryn Avenue to Atherton Drive.

Also taking some pressure off of Main Street was the widening of several sections of Union Road during the past decade from two to four lanes.

The road is now four lanes from the entrance to Del Webb at Woodbridge to the Highway 120 Bypass.

A 1999 traffic study predicted 39,000 vehicles will eventually pass through the intersection once Spreckels Park and nearby commercial is completely built and filled. That compares to 17,200 vehicles at the intersection the first year that Spreckels Avenue was opened as a stub started in 1999 with the construction of the Food-4-Less store. Before Spreckels opened, the Cottage-Yosemite intersection had a traffic count of 16,200 vehicles a day. It is now at 25,100.

When the city moved forward with the landscaping bulbs on Main in early 2005, municipal leaders indicated they would monitor traffic pattern shifts to see how it was easing pressure on Main Street through downtown where it narrows to two lanes. Another outside influence on traffic patterns is the emerging retail corridor along the Highway 120 Bypass that could pull more traffic west of Main Street to travel to Union Road to reach shopping.