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What gets fixed first, alleys or parking lots?
GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin A ruler helps demonstrate issues with cracks and uneven concrete in downtown Manteca alleys.

Brenda Franklin — who has served for years as the de facto point person for downtown merchants frustrated with the condition of alleys and parking lots — believes the city is going about an improvement project all wrong.

She takes exception with a proposal to replace concrete — that the city has not repaired since they were put in place more than 50 years ago — with asphalt that has a shorter lifespan of 30 years.

Given the project is a repair of problems and not part of an overall effort to transform the looks of the alleys, Franklin believes the city would be better off hiring a cement mason to fix the problems instead of ripping out all of the concrete and replacing it with asphalt that is much more susceptible to potholes given the extensive delivery truck traffic.

Her quarrel with the current city design and rehabilitation of three alleyway sections and three parking lots includes the preference by the city to do the parking lots first.

“The most central thing they need to do first – the alleyway is bad,” Franklin said. 

Community meetings were conducted by the city Monday at the Manteca Transit Center on Moffat Boulevard where information on the impact to business in the future construction areas was discussed. 

Franklin said since the alleys have serious issues they should be repaired first but the city is scheduling the parking lots first.  She specifically pointed to the alleyway behind the 200 block of the north side of West Yosemite where numerous cracks have ruptured the concrete finish but those are not being repaired first.

Instead the concrete parking lot that abuts the alley is to become asphalt with only a 30-year life span compared to the 50-year estimate for concrete. Franklin pointed to several areas in the lot that could be repaired by an experienced concrete mason instead of it being ripped out and replaced with asphalt.

The east to west alley runs between the 100 block of North Main Street and the 100 block of Maple Avenue with a T-connection with a north to south alley that runs up to Center Street. 

Franklin noted as well that if the Maple Avenue alley had an added light in the center of the parking area and removal of the wheel bumpers that food vendors could use the alley during the downtown street fairs for the benefit of the crowds. 

Manteca City Management Analyst Johanna Ferriera noted that the city is still working on the timing for phasing of the downtown parking lots and alleyways.  The Maple Avenue parking lot is expected to be completed this fall noting that would take care of all the parking lots with the exception of the private lot leased to the city by George Janis on the south side of Yosemite Avenue behind his music store.  The city would then focus on the alleyways being paved in the spring.

Franklin argues there is still life left in much of the alley concrete that shouldn’t be ignored and could be repaired as is the case in the Maple Avenue alley.  

To contact Glenn Kahl, email