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Councilman pushing more cost effective solution to convert Main Street to 4 lanes thru downtown
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Councilman Dave Breitenbucher believes four lanes of traffic can go through downtown Manteca on North Main Street for significantly less than $3.8 million.

There is an obvious and less expensive solution to the traffic tourniquet on North Main Street from Councilman Dave Breitenbucher’s viewpoint.

And he is confident it can be done with a small part of the $3.8 million budgeted to create four lanes from Yosemite Avenue and Alameda Street and divert the balance to target replacement or repairs to the sections of Airport Way in greatest disrepair.

How Breitenbucher would move four lanes of traffic through downtown centers around modifying — and coordinating — traffic signals, eliminating parking and the need for  a middle turn lane, restriping lanes and removing the median and landscaping bulbouts in the 100 block of Main Street.

Breitenbucher stressed his joining the 3-2 vote Tuesday to “pause” a final decision on the North Street project was not driven by a desire to come up with a plan for downtown per se as what drove Manteca Mayor Ben Cantu’s vote but to make sure the $3.8 million was being spent as effectively as possible in addressing traffic issues and pavement problems.
“I don’t think we should be tearing up four blocks of pavement that is perfectly good when we have other roads that are crumbling,” Breitenbucher said.

Breitenbucher said it makes more sense to consider switching pavers downtown on Main Street when the useful life of the pavement is near. And even then he believes pavers would ultimately make more sense on Yosemite Avenue and perhaps side streets and not on Main Street that is likely to be always a heavily traveled arterial as it is the only street that goes from Lathrop Road to the 120 Bypass for a mile in either direction.

His Main Street solution borrows heavily from what the city is already doing with Spreckels Avenue and Industrial Park traffic at Moffat Boulevard as well as Northwoods Avenue and Commerce Drive traffic at Yosemite Avenue.

At both intersections the north-south movements through the intersections are independent of each other and do not take place simultaneously.

It is how the left turn lanes/continuous left turn lanes can be eliminated along North Main Street.

The two southbound lanes would have the green light at the same time while all others are red. This would allow traffic to turn left or go straight from the inside lane while traffic in the curbside lane could go either straight or turn right.  The same things would happen heading north.

The cross streets at Yosemite and Center could keep independent left turn movements or switch to a pattern such as he’s proposing for Manteca.

Under that scenario there would only be four distinctive signal changes during a traffic light cycle compared to the six currently in place.

Then if the signals at least at Moffat, Yosemite, Center, and North are coordinated so they turn green in a wave fashion based on the speed limit it would further reduce backups.

It would require the slightly raised 6-inch median you see on streets in other cities to prevent mid-block left turn lanes from parking lots and alleys.

Such a configuration would also allow for a bicycle lane — something that doesn’t currently exist nor does the paver option offer.

The only reason staffed looked at pavers was due to the fact to have four lanes with a turn lane would require cutting into sidewalks to move back curb and gutters to meet the minimum requirement of 10-foot wide travel lanes. Pavers, unlike asphalt do not need a gutter.

Although Breitenbucher didn’t address Sutter Street that T-intersects with Main between North and Alameda, other cities in similar situations have either physically eliminated all turns and made it possible for only a right turn on or off the side street.  Another option that other jurisdictions have done in the case of extremely lightly traveled streets would be to block off Sutter by extending the sidewalk with a raised area that includes low-key landscaping.

Breitenbucher stressed that he believes traffic congestion on Main Street needs to be addressed while keeping in mind the city’s budget and the fact there is a long list of pressing municipal concerns.

As a retired fire captain who was often frustrated whe respnding to emergency along the North Main Street corridor with engines being caught in backed-up ntraffic, the four-lane configuration would likely reduce backup and blocked streets in coordination with devices on engines that can change signals green the direction they are heading.

Four lanes down Main Street would also likely improve the response time of Manteca District Ambulances that are dispatched from their headquarters station 1 block and a half east of Main Street on Center Street.

It also would accommodate bicyclists down the Main Street corridor that is identified as a goal in the city’s active transportation plan to make Manteca a safer place — and more accommodating — for bicyclists and pedestrians.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email