By DENNIS WYATT
The developers of a proposed parking yard for 486 trucks in northwest Manteca north of Lathrop Road and west of Airport Way don’t like a recommendation by the Manteca Planning Commission to restrict hours of operation to 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. in a bid to keep noise issues to a minimum.
It is why they appealed that decision to the City Council.
But when the City Council takes the issue up Tuesday when they meet at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St., they are going to get an earful from nearby Del Webb at Woodbridge residents and others that believe the real problem is the plan to place a signalized intersection between Lathrop Road and Daisywood — both that are also signalized. It would create a situation similar to East Yosemite Avenue between the intersections of Commerce/Northwoods and Button Avenue where there are three signalized intersections in quick succession.
To underscore the frustration of Del Webb residents, they snapped the photo accompanying this story of three trucks pulled up alongside each other on Airport Way heading south at Lathrop Road where there is only two lanes.
“This is what you can expect at the Lathrop Road/Airport Way Intersection every three or four minutes every day of the week if the City Council approves the CenterPoint Container Yard No. 2 project that is on the City Council agenda Tuesday,” noted Manteca resident Bill Barnhart. “The picture is of three STAA trucks illegally stopped at the traffic signal southbound on Airport Way at the Lathrop Road intersection . . . One turns left to go east bound on Lathrop Road, the center one continues south on Airport Way and the left most one eventually crowds in behind the center one and it also continues south.”
“ By the City’s and CenterPoint’s own calculations, this project is going to dump 816 trucks per day onto Airport Way outbound from a new signalized intersection just north of (Lathrop Road),” Barnhart added. “The math is easy, on average that means a truck will exit the Container Yard every 1.76 minutes 24 hours a day. Of course, most of these trucks will be concentrated during daylight hours meaning large trucks will be exiting onto Airport Way every few seconds. If you want your thoughts to be heard regarding this increased truck traffic, then please attend the City Council meeting.”
On a 3-2 vote in May, the Planning Commission approved the truck yard with the added condition it could not be operated except between the hours of 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. out of concern it would be too much noise for nearby residents. The CenterPoint Business Park representative made it clear that placing such a time restrictions on operations would significantly reduce the marketability of the 16.12-acre project.
The CenterPoint development in northwest Manteca borders the Union Pacific Railroad intermodal yard on the west and Airport Way. It borders Roth Road on the north and starts a short distance from Lathrop Road on the south.
The existing 153-space truck parking yard rents space mostly to independent and contract drivers that need a place to park their rigs. Drivers leave their cars at the lot — or are dropped off — when they are driving their truck. Each of those spaces account for 1.68 trailer trips per day based on a study conducted by consultants at the city’s request. Restricting the hours drivers could retrieve and park their trucks could be a major issue given more often than not scheduled pickups and drop-offs fluctuate.
Del Webb residents at the commission meeting expressed concerns that the truck yard would hurt their quality of life, send more air pollution their way, elevate noise, and further destroy Airport Way pavement.
The current 153-space truck yard in operation to the north has not created such problems because drivers use a private road inside the CenterPoint Business Park known as Intermodal Way to access it via Roth Road.
CenterPoint proposes extending that road further south to the site of the proposed second truck yard that has 486 spaces but that is contingent on Union Pacific granting them an easement and allowing the road to be built on their property.
Meanwhile trucks using the second yard when it opens would use Airport Way via a private road. It would connect with Airport Way between Daisywood Drive — the western entrance to Del Webb — and Lathrop Road. The T-intersection of the private road with Airport Way would have traffic signals. That would create three traffic signals in a short stretch of roadway meaning more noise could be generated from trucks braking and accelerating.
Trucks would “temporarily” access Roth Road that provides a connection to Interstate 5 by heading up Airport Way past homes backing up to the road as well as through the Daisywood intersection.
Concerns expressed about idling that can generate noise as well as pollutants were covered in a stipulation that indicates trucks are not allowed to idle more than three minutes.
For decades, Manteca residents have demanded — and city leaders have clamored — for more jobs to provide employment opportunities so those buying homes don’t have to commute long distances. That is the goal of what planners refer to as a jobs-housing balance.
But questions raised by Del Webb residents indicate such as balance is more than just one dimensional as job centers that rely on truck movements can impact the quality of life of nearby residents and accelerate deterioration of roadways.
The biggest source of head-of-household jobs in the Manteca is being driven by distribution centers and powered by a growing shortage of truck drivers.