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Playing chicken at Daniels & Union

Here are a few observations from the treacherous streets of Manteca made by readers that perhaps someone at City Hall might want to make note of as two major road projects move forward.

The first involves Daniels Street at Union Road just north of where the City of Manteca is getting ready to build California’s first diverging diamond interchange at Union Road and the 120 Bypass.

Manteca resident Jon Lautenschlager believes it would be prudent for the city to put a no left turn sign in place from Daniels Street to northbound Union Road.

“Speaking of intersections, there are several here in town that ought to be examined for safety,” Lautenschlager noted in an email. “One in particular, the intersection of Daniels and South Union ought to be made into a ‘No left turn’ for folks heading east on Daniels who are trying (and I use ‘trying’ because almost weekly someone gets hit there) to turn left on to South Union ( heading towards Yosemite). Some of these intersections might have been OK back when Manteca was smaller but with more traffic and speed limits that few seem to obey what was once adequate now has become dangerous.”

We’ve been through that intersection many times and understand why it is a dangerous left turn. There are visibility issues that can’t be addressed plus traffic comes through there fats and furious.

After receiving the email July 31, we made it a point to spend some time observing the intersection primarily during the afternoon commute and on the weekend where it is part of a popular alternative route for more than a few people from east Manteca who want to access Costco while avoiding the Bypass of the Yosemite Avenue to Airport Way route.

While traffic accident data doesn’t support the contention there is one accident a week that seemingly takes place at the intersection, it’s a minor miracle there isn’t a T-bone accident there on a daily basis. During 10-minute periods on eight different days there were 18 near misses as defined by turning cars in less than two car lengths in front of oncoming cars. It’s a scary dance taking place.

Now for the punch line: The urban interchange is designed to move what is expected to be a growing volume of traffic coming from — and accessing freeway ramps — by reducing stops at traffic signals. That means there will be less of a break in traffic especially at peak hours for traffic turning from Daniels to northbound Union Road.

Perhaps the city might want to not only think about installing a no left turn sign on Daniels but actually put in place improvements to make sure people can’t make an illegal left turn anyway.

That brings up street safety issue No. 2 — Yosemite Avenue at Powers Avenue.

Another reader has repeatedly noted how drivers in the westbound curb lane that is supposed to be a right turn only lane onto northbound Powers will routinely go through the intersection and try to pass drivers in the single thru lane on the right.

On Monday at 6:30 p.m. three cars one after another on the same green light illegally went straight instead of turning right and then started cutting off cars that were legally heading west. One of the three cars traveled along the curb where parking is supposed to be all the way to Fremont Avenue before turning right.

Perhaps as part of the Yosemite Avenue road work from Main Street to Cottage Avenue the city might want to consider using traffic bollards — or perhaps a bulb out — on the northeast corner of the intersection to stop the illegal movements.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email