A bit of inconvenience traveling Main Street through downtown next week during the morning could be the precursor to less traffic congestion.
City crews are closing the 100 block of North Main between 7 and 11 a.m. to work on modifying the median closest to Center Street. There will be detours marked.
By removing part of the median and replacing it with a thin median covering an area a bit wider than the center line area, it will allow for six vehicles to queue in the left turn pocket from northbound Main to head westbound on Center Street. The current configuration with a shorter stack for vehicles waiting to turn left often ends up with the last vehicle in line partially blocking through traffic.
The work is part of a $100,500 traffic signal synchronizing project the council authorized last month. Traffic signals at five intersections between Moffat Boulevard and Alameda Street will be synchronized.
At some point in the coming months, equipment that has been ordered to synchronize the signals will arrive in Manteca allowing that portion of the work to be done.
As early as May traffic flow on Main Street through downtown is expected to show a marked improvement.
The median work is being done during the morning hours only to avoid needing detours during the afternoon when traffic is more congested.
The city is taking a different approach to Main Street going forward.
They opted to break down issues and identified what fixes or improvements could be done first that wouldn’t need to be torn out when the council decides on a final course of action. Options they can explore would be keeping the corridor through downtown at two lanes with a turn lane, four lanes with a turn lane, or four lanes with left turns being made from the center lanes with during separate green lights for north and south bound traffic.
The improvements now being made fall under those parameters of not having to be “wasted” tax dollar investments by being torn out months or several years later if the city changes its direction.
The question elected leaders need to settle before deciding on an ultimate course of action is whether the city’s aim should be move traffic through downtown or make downtown a destination.
The first option call for four lanes of thru traffic. The second option might opt for single lanes in each direction and eliminate parking to allow for widened sidewalk to accommodate outdoor dining and other uses.
Better traffic flow on Main Street from the work now underway will have a ripple effect on side streets such as Yosemite Avenue and Center Street creating longer delays for east-west traffic.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email@example.com