Tweaking Manteca’s streets to improve safety is happening more often and at a faster pace.
Credit it to a decision several years ago to create a Traffic Solutions Team at city hall.
The team — which meets every two weeks — looks at trouble spots brought to their attention.
Traffic safety issues are passed on to the city hall committee from council members contacted by citizens, the community through the government outreach app, or municipal workers who are on the streets day-to-day either enforcing traffic laws or maintaining streets.
It should be noted that is how traffic issues — except for the government outreach app — have been brought to the city’s attention for decades.
But the reason they are being addressed a bit quicker and/or solutions not losing traction is simple.
The city has been slowly changing how it does business.
Mayor Gary Singh and other council members refer to it as “knocking down silos”.
Instead of departments operating in an independent manner, problem solving takes place in a more integrated manner where it makes sense.
Interim Police Chief Stephen Schluer said what happened before was one department would have an issue brought to their attention and they’d send an email to another asking for help with a solution. Emails would then be sent back and forth.
With the team made up of representatives from the engineering, public works, streets division, and police department Schluer noted all of the staff brings their area of expertise to the table for problems to be addressed face-to-face.
It eliminates the need to wait for emails to circulate about a problem to come up with a solution. It also reduces the time that is needed when solutions are devised and signed off by each department involved.
High profile improvements that the team has brought about in the last two years in a fairly quick manner include:
*The three-way stop signs on Cottage Avenue at Alameda Street that address speeding as well as the ability of motorists to make safe turns due to sightline issues with vehicles parked on the street.
*No parking zones along Moffat Boulevard to eliminate sightline safety issues created by parked trucks at intersections as well as for people trying to use crosswalks.
*Speed tables on Walnut Avenue.
Schluer said there are other smaller endeavors that have addressed specific problems.’
They include those that have seen:
*Intersections with sightline problems having adjacent curbs painted red to create longer no parking zones.
*Striping of pavement to improve visibility.
*Small upgrades around schools to enhance safety.
*The removal of traffic islands in some places.
Schluer said the team is also working on a grant that would allow them to take a more proactive approach by identifying issues citywide and prioritizing a strategy on what issues to address first as resources become available.
They also have several initiatives that they want to move forward including better synchronization of traffic signals to reduce congestion, speeding and red light running.
The interim police chief noted traffic safety is driven by the “Three ‘E’s” — engineering, education and enforcement.
Engineering is used to modify behavior whether it is through installing appropriate signs, speed reduction improvements such as speed tables, and narrowing of travel lanes with stripping.
And while studies by national traffic safety experts have shown that modifies the behavior for well over 80 percent of drivers, education and enforcement help to reduce issues with most remaining motorists.
“Yoi don’t always give a ticket,” Schluer said when police pull over a driver for a moving violation that are the major contributing factor to accidents. “Sometimes education gets the point across.”
Schluer noted when police are contacted through the government outreach app or alerted by citizens of traffic safety issues, they assess the situation.
That usually means targeted enforcement .
If that doesn’t do the trick, the Traffic Solutions Team may become involved.
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