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Chick-fil-A mess at 9 months as another chicken place ready to raise cane with Yosemite traffic
chick crossalk
Brad Peters had to wait for this pickup truck to back up after it blocked the crosswalk at Northwoods due to the Chick-fil-A drive-up que that spills out onto Yosemite Avenue.

What came first, the chicken or Yosemite Avenue?

It is question for Manteca leaders — elected and otherwise — to ponder now that’s Raising Cane’s Finger Chicken has broken ground within a block of Chick-fil-A.

Chick-fil-A since it opened April 30 has turned one of the two westbound through lanes on Yosemite Avenue as well as the right turn lane of the Highway 99 southbound off-ramp  into the de facto drive thru lane.

Say what you want about Chick-fil-A but at least they don’t create a traffic nightmare on Sundays.

That may not be the case for Raising Cane’s that is building where the original McDonald’s in Manteca was once located next to the bowling alley. That’s where every three weeks or so someone turning left into Yosemite after responding to a Big Mac Attack would get into a quasi- T-Bone accident or fender benders in the center turning lane with someone turning left looking for a meal deal or someone moving over a bit early to turn left onto Spreckels Avenue.

Have no fear. The same high-priced traffic consultant that said everything was OK with Chick-fil-A signed off on Raising Cane’s without recommending a raised median and instead recommended putting in a no left turn lane sign at the western most exit.

When a Manteca Planning Commissioner questioned whether that would work, the consultant assured them it would because all drivers had to do was drive to the signal at Spreckels Avenue and make a U-turn.

There are two problems with that. First, it is posted as illegal to make a U-turn there as it is with virtually every intersection on Yosemite Avenue. Second how many drivers actually adhere to the no left turn lanes where there are no center medians preventing it?

 If the consultant had observed traffic at two locations right next door and across the street from the Raising Cane site at Kentucky Fried Chicken and Chevron they would have noticed no left turn signs at their exists are far from 100 percent effective.


Chick-Fil-A mess forces ambulances not to

use what was quickest route to hospital ER

While the city may have allowed Raising Cane to repeat the accident issues McDonald’s had, at least the Chick-fil-A traffic fiasco is not life threatening, right?

Brad Peters would disagree.

He points out Northwoods Avenue where the entrance to Chick-fil-A is located for years has been the fastest route for ambulances from Ripon, Escalon, and east of Highway 99 in Manteca to transport often critical patients to the Doctors Hospital of Manteca emergency room.

That is no longer the case given often times during the afternoon and early evening Monday through Saturday Northwoods Avenue is plugged solid with traffic.

Then there is the issue of the almost daily traffic congestion impeding police and fire response especially to Northwoods Avenue locations.

After spending nine months waiting for the city to do something about how Chick-fil-A has created traffic snarls on Manteca’s primary east-west street for nine months, Peters got fed up.

The 48-year resident is undertaking a one-man crusade to get city officials to do something about a mess that their approval of Chick-fil-A created.

Last week he started contracting Caltrans pushing them to do a traffic study.

The reason is simple. At numerous times during the day traffic backed up to get into Chick-fil-A impedes the flow on East Highway 120 passing under the Highway 99 overpass. It also backs up southbound off ramp traffic prompting drivers not hankering for a chicken sandwich but simply want to get into Manteca to make an illegal right turn from the middle lane of the off ramp.

Peters, tired of having to maneuver his van through the back up mess that the de facto Chick-fil-A drive thru lane creates with Yosemite Avenue traffic, on Monday spent his fifth day in the last six days observing and documenting the mess.

 It is a mess that be believes enjoys the implied support of the City of Manteca along with Caltrans given blocked driveways and block intersections along with backed up traffic throwing a major monkey wrench in traffic movements through an interchange involving two state highways have been a daily occurrence — but never on a Sunday — since April 30.


Chick-Fil-A personnel politely asks Peters not

to park on the street where it is legal to do so

To demonstrate the city’s inaction, Peters has taken to legally parking his van on Northwoods between Yosemite and the entrance to the Chick-Fil-A parking lot.

This prompted Chick-Fil-A personnel — based on a voice recording that was made with their knowledge — to approach his van on Friday as ask him why he was parking there.

Peters replied it is a public street and he was parking there legally. He added had been shopping at T-Mobile as well as Home Depot.

Customers apparently were getting behind his van believing he was in line for chicken.

Peters was told by Chick-fil-A that essentially his parking legally on Northwoods was helping create more congestion.

At one point when Peters parked there again, Chick-fil-A printed out signs with an arrow reading “proceed around” and “vehicle in line” atop a safety bollard they placed behind it.

Peters said at night the sign has been decorated with lights by the staff.

“All I want is to see no parking signs put up and the curb painted red,” Peters said.

It is a request that has gotten zero traction at 1001 West Center Street although Peters has been assured that the city is working on it.


Chick-Fil-A customers take over &

trash shopping center parking lot

Peters isn’t the only people forced to take measures because of what he views as the city’s inaction.

Ironically, one of those people is City Councilman Gary Singh who manages his family owned shopping center anchored by Grocery Outlet that is directly across Northwoods.

Singh has placed a dozen “No Chick-fil-A parking signs” with a notation the spaces are for customers of 1361 to 1393 Yosemite Avenue only.

Singh did that after his tenants repeatedly experienced times when there were no spaces left in the shopping center parking lot due to its use by those connected with Chick-fil-A.

Singh said that included employees, third party food delivery firms and Chick-fil-A customers that after they get their orders pull into the shopping center parking lot to eat.

Making it even worse, more than a few toss their Chick-fil-A garbage in the parking lot.

On Monday one such pavement garbage drop next to the Shell station was swooped down on by a homeless individual. He said people are still pulling into the parking lot and tossing out of their cars what they don’t eat and driving off. He said it gives him and other homeless a chance to get some warm fast food.

“We screwed up,” Singh said of the city.

He noted staff and the planning commission failed to see the problem. Given nobody appealed the commission’s decision to approve the project as part of an effort by the city manager’s office to streamline the approval process it never reached the City Council for review.

Singh said he is now dealing with people tired of waiting in the de facto Chick-fil-A line in order to travel to their neighborhood or reach the motel that are using his parking lot as a replacement surface street when Northwoods is clogged with traffic.

“They go down Yosemite and turn into the parking lot after the Shell station or before the Mexican restaurant and drive through the parking lot and get back onto Northwoods at the exit across from the motel,” Singh said.

Singh added that any suggestion that the shopping center could work out an arrangement to help Chick-fil-A by allowing them to use his parking lot would hurt his tenants and create liability issues.

He also noted trash issues in the parking lot have picked up significantly since Chick-fil-A opened.



Chick-fil-A bound traffic

blocks intersections, crosswalks

Peters has noticed a number of traffic and safety concerns regarding Chick-fil-A traffic during the five days he’s been observing the area.

All of it has to do with the de facto Chick-fil-A drive thru lane on a city street — at times on a state highway — that sits more than  it moves as it inches toward a small army of order takers in the fast food parking lot.

*The Chick-fil-A bound traffic routinely block the entrance to Best Western where a large red sign warns to keep the driveway clear as it is the one and only fire access point.

*Fast food customers routinely block crosswalks. Such was the case Monday when a pickup truck backed up after impeding Peters’ ability to cross Northwoods in his wheelchair when he had the right-of-way.

*Traffic backs up beyond the short 30-foot or so right turn lane on Yosemite bringing traffic to a standstill in one of the two through lanes. That frustrates drivers who often have to sit for two or so light changes to get through the Northwoods intersection if they can’t safety merge into the other lane. On Monday one frustrated big rig trucker repeatedly hit his horn trying to get Chick-fil-A fans to move.

*Traffic turning left from eastbound Yosemite Avenue to Northwoods or going straight from Commerce Avenue can’t clear the intersection before the light changes.

Compounding the impact of the Chick-fil-A traffic snarl is the timing of traffic signals at the Highway 99 ramps.

Eastbound Yosemite traffic trying to reach the two left turns onto the northbound ramps to Highway 99 backs up to a point west of Northwoods.

Meanwhile traffic coming off the northbound ramp backs up into the intersection near Black Bear Diner because westbound Yosemite is at a stop in one lane and a crawl in the other due to the Chick-fil-A back-up.


Chick-fil-A did everything

Manteca asked them to do

When Chick-fil-A applied to build on the site that was once the Brawley’s coffee shop that was converted to the Chinese Super Buffet, municipal planners had them site the fast food restaurant toward the back of the parcel instead of in middle where it was first envisioned.

They also required the driveways from Yosemite Avenue to be closed after Caltrans indicated they were too close to the freeway.

The driveways to access Chick-fil-A were placed as far away from Yosemite as possible.

The traffic consultant assured the city that even based on the higher customer traffic that Chick-fil-A attracts as opposed to other fast food operations that the approval of the project wouldn’t create traffic issues.

Michal Payton, the owner-operator of the Manteca Chick-fil-A, said he had met with the city to see if solutions could be put in place to ease the situation.

Chick-fil-A has reconfigured the meandering drive-thru line that has taken over the 32-stall parking lot and added more order takers to walk the line of cars.

The 4,172-square-foot restaurant has two drive thru lane and seating for 82.

The inside seating has never been used given the location opened on April 30 when the pandemic was well underway.

Adding temporary outdoor dining won’t make much of a dent if any due to the need to cram as many cars in the drive-thru ques to try and reduce traffic congestion on Yosemite.

And if city officials are counting on the end of the pandemic to make traffic issue go away, economists believe the 30 percent jump in fast food spending COVID-19 triggered isn’t likely to recede for years, if ever.

Meanwhile Payton said he is looking at additional third party delivery services, trying to figure out if the makeshift order lines can be made even more efficient, and waiting to see if the City of Manteca has any solutions.

Representatives for Raising Cane’s that is expected to open by summer indicate they have a longer on-site que line for drive-thru service and pride themselves on runaround on orders of 2 minutes or so due in part to their more limited options.

For his part, Peters vows to keep pressing on.

He believes Chick-fil-A might want to pay for an off-duty Manteca Police officer to keep traffic moving on Yosemite Avenue during the time of day when the backup is at its worst.

It is an option Singh believes might be worth exploring.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email