Kym Norwicki is arguably among Manteca’s most vulnerable residents as she is forced to use a wheelchair to get around.
She is also feeling the brunt of three issues that are frustrating many Manteca residents — people not paying attention when they are driving, those among the homeless that have socialization issues, and petty thieves.
Norwicki has been struck by a hit and run driver while in wheelchair leading to damage to her sternum and her jaw needing to be wired shut. She’s had a purse stolen while moving about Manteca in her wheelchair and twice had the same homeless individual throw plastic in her face while exiting the Save Mart store on West Yosemite Avenue.
On Tuesday, Norwicki appeared before the City Council sharing her tribulations while politely asserting she was frustrated with the responses from the Manteca Police Department.
Her complaints ranged from what she perceived as indifference on the part of officers to not returning calls when inquiring about the status of her cases to no movement on the cases.
“Nothing happens,” Norwicki said. “I get no response.”
At one point she told the council she essentially can’t defend herself against someone grabbing her purse from her when she’s in her wheelchair.
“I’m just a target,” she said. “There’s no way for me to defend myself.”
As for the vehicle that struck her, she said she provided a make, model, and color but was not able to get a license plate number. While she conceded that wasn’t much to go on, she said she was taken aback by the suggestion she could look for the vehicle herself.
Mayor Steve DeBrum asked for Police Chief Jodie Estarziau meet with Norwicki to address her concerns.
Daniels Street next
up to get traffic
Councilman Mike Morowit on Tuesday asked Public Works Director Mark Houghton to consider Daniels Street from Airport Way to Union Road as the next street as a candidate for traffic calming measures.
Morowit lauded the effort that has placed permanent radar signs that flash the speed of an approaching vehicle below a sign with the posted speed limit on Mission Ridge Drive as the first step in trying to slow traffic. The next step for the 72-foot wide street involves placing marked 5-foot wide bike lanes on both sides of Mission Ridge Drive. That would narrow the 15-foot wide travel lanes from 15 feet to 10 feet.
While that seems like an ineffective strategy, it has been working for the city on another collector street that had been problematic — South Powers Avenue from Yosemite Avenue to Marin Street. The bike lanes were shifted toward the center line by almost a foot and repainted back in 2010. It had the effect of slowing down well over two thirds of the drivers.
Experts say that’s because it creates a narrower pathway that is visual to the driver. The majority of drivers will slow down.
Morowit would like to see the same measures considered for Daniels Street that also passes Brock Elliott School.
Morowit used to live on Daniels Street and can attest to how traffic — and speeding — has increased over the years.
Part of it has to do with the opening just over 10 years ago of Costco as well as the adjacent Stadium Retail Center anchored by Kohl’s. A number of drivers use Spreckels Avenue that turns into Mission Ridge Drive and then jog a block or so to the south to turn on Daniels Street to reach Costco to avoid the 120 Bypass and/or Yosemite Avenue.
Mayor wants potholes
on Airport Way addressed
Mayor Steve DeBrum believes its time staff paid a little more attention to Airport Way between Wawona Street and Lathrop Road.
While he understands significant work on Airport Way isn’t in the cards for the next few years due to other demands for the city’s road repair funds, he wants to see Public Works more aggressively attack potholes.
Part of the problem is the city street maintenance crew is still at half the staffing level it was at before 2008 when the Great Recession hit.
AED now in place at
Manteca Veterans Center
An automated external defibrillator (AED) has been installed at the Manteca Veterans Center/Moffat Community Center at 550 Moffat Blvd.
Councilman Richard Silverman — who pushed for the device that helps those experiencing sudden cardiac arrest to be placed at the center and any other public gathering place city has — lauded staff for their follow through.
Responding to a question from Silverman about training on how to use an AED, Fire Chief Kyle Shipherd said the Veterans of Foreign Wars post could contact his department to arrange to attend an instructional class.
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