Manteca topped 1,000 traffic accidents for the first time ever in 2019 while suffering a record 256 injury crashes while matching 2015 as the deadliest year ever on city streets with six fatalities.
The year-end traffic numbers released by Manteca Police Department tallied a record 1,065 traffic accidents last year compared to 929 in 2018. That equates to 2.7 accidents every day in Manteca. That is up from an average of 2.5 accidents a day in 2018.
The snapshot of how safe the streets are in Manteca is gleaned from traffic accident statistics. They do not involve fender benders where the police did not respond.
The 10-year trend shows the last five years, have been the deadliest on city streets with 23 traffic fatalities from 2016 to 2019 compared to 6 in the previous six years.
Manteca population during that time went up 25.6 percent from 67,677 to 85,000 while overall accidents went up 67.1 percent going from 637 to 1,065 while injury accidents soared 128 percent going from 112 to 256. There was one fatality in 2010. There were 6 fatalities in 2019. Meanwhile tickets issued for moving violations plummeted 30 percent.
Manteca for much of the past decade had only three officers dedicated to traffic enforcement. As of last month there is now five traffic officers. The last time Manteca had five traffic officers was in 2009 before budget cuts due to the Great Recession. That was the year they issued 2,511 for moving violations — the traffic violations such as speeding, running stop signs and red lights, and such that lead to accidents. There were 2,019 moving violation tickets issued in 2010. That compares to 1,420 moving violation tickets in 2019.
Manteca’s strategy toward safer streets is dubbed the ‘Three E’s” — engineering, education, and enforcement.
Even if a more muscular traffic enforcement unit is put in place, given officers can’t be everywhere the most effective “E” in the long run to altering driving habits is engineering.
It is why the city staff has developed an updated traffic calming for neighborhood streets. Most of the strategies in the traffic calming policy aim at slowing down traffic.
Examples of traffic calming measures include:
*striping designed to narrow lanes and alert drivers. pedestrians and bicyclists.
*bicycle lanes to promote bicycle use and safety as well as slow down vehicles by making travel lanes narrower.
*Botts Dots with reflective markers to keep drivers on the right side of the road. They are especially useful on curves such as those found on North Powers Avenue.
*speed limit radar displays in conjunction with static speed limit signs in a bid to educate motorists of their speed and to encourage compliance. Deployment includes temporary radar trailers and solar powered speed limit signs.
*increasing traffic enforcement. As opposed to other measures it would be impossible to have in place 24/7.
*speed humps across the street that force motorists to slow down in order to cross. They would not be deployed on emergency response routes.
*speed lumps — basically three smaller speed hump — spaced to allow buses and emergency vehicles to straddle them by going down the middle of the road or toward the side of the road.
*speed tables that are a flat-topped speed hump of a longer length that can be used on emergency response routes.
*raised crosswalks that provide pedestrians with a sidewalk level street crossing. The raised crosswalks function as a speed hump of sorts while making pedestrians more visible to approaching motorists.
Other traffic calming devices include bulb outs, pedestrian islands, traffic circles, partial or full closure of streets, and stop signs.
Residents can put in motion a city inquiry into whether deploy traffic calming devices on specific streets.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org