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Major street circulation plan includes adding 2 more costly interchanges & altering rural neighborhoods
Manteca’s draft general plan calls for widening the Cottage Avenue overcrossing of Highway 99 to four lanes while leaving the street approach on both sides two lanes.

Manteca expects to allow growth do to Austin Road from a point south of Moffat Boulevard to East Highway 120 to the north in the coming years what development did to the once rural Louise Avenue nearly three decades. Simply, put those living along the narrow two-lane road will eventually have four lanes of traffic running in front of their homes.

Meanwhile the densely packed area of rural homes on Cottage Avenue will likely have more traffic dumped down it as Lathrop Road is anticipated to be widened to the east to four lanes where it now T-intersects at Cottage.

Those are two of what promise to be disruptive and expensive considerations that are  part of a recommended major street circulation conceptual plan that’s included in the draft general plan update now being vetted.

 While many voice displeasure with either traffic, how growth is occurring or how Manteca seems to appear to promise facilities with no clear plan in place or political will to do so and pay for them, the most effective manner in which citizens can address those needs is to make sure the general plan reflects them.

The general plan that is being updated serves as essentially a template for future city policies and how the city goes about accommodating or — as critics correctly point out — enticing growth.

Not only does it provide the foundation for various development-related polices the city will implement in the coming 20 years or so, but it establishes the justification for sewer water, and major roads needed so that the city can keep growing.

And because the city has no policy on capping the city’s ultimate population, the general plan as proposed doesn’t toss out numbers in regards to what the land use and infrastructure being pursued such as roads will support in terms of the number of residents.

 What it does to is make it clear growth needs to be charged for its “fair share” to allow the city to expand in a somewhat orderly fashion. That, however, hasn’t always translated into a realistic implementation policies over the years or let alone funding.

Pinning a number on what the city is planning for is somewhat difficult as much of the land within the planning area as opposed to just being within the current city limits is in urban reserve or an agriculture/open space zone that — based on previous general plans — could easily be switched to land uses that can be developed with large scale tract home subdivisions.

 Based on capacity of Manteca’s share of the South San Joaquin Surface Water Treatment Plant’s proposed second phase expansion should that occur the city would be able to support a population of 144,000 people.  Manteca currently has 87,000 residents.

That is based on a study done more than two decades ago when per capita household water use was much higher. All things equal the city — if the second phase is built and the use per acre of water continues to be roughly the same for farmland as is it is for a subdivision — there could be enough water treatment capacity and water barring prolonged droughts to support a population pushing 160,000.

The city is not in a positon to refute those old studies or to argue against altering them to demonstrate that even more people can be supported because Manteca has never sought to determine how much of a population the city can or should ultimately support.

And unlike the handful of California cities that have established urban limits that essentially by a vote establish lines beyond which the city will not grow, Manteca keeps moving the outer limits. Over the year as Manteca has annexed into its sphere of influence they have expanded the planning area limits farther to the north, east and south.

Based on the land use map included in the draft general plan update Manteca is indicating it has designs on roughly 33 to 40 percent more land than n is currently within the city limits. Given not all of the land within the city has been zoned for housing has been developed, it is quite possible Manteca is planning currently for 180,000 people.

That is based on what is zoned for residential development and areas within the planning area that are given holding pattern zoning such as agriculture but are ultimately converted to other uses. In the past when the city has responded to critics that they have no intention of ever building on land they designate as agriculture, the question that is asked and never answered is then why does  the city need to include agricultural land within its city limits or planning area.

The legal requirement for the general plan is basic. Under state law, if a city wants to keep growing they must demonstrate they plan — as opposed to can —  accommodate it while meeting a variety of other requirements form environmental justice to air quality.


Major street plan raises

issues previous council

rejected as too expensive

The major streets circulation plan includes a map that calls for two new interchanges along the Highway 99:

*One is midway between French Camp and Lathrop roads and would open the extensive area of rural estates intermixed with farmland northwest of Manteca to development by extending Roth Road access the freeway.

*The other is a six lane interchange requiring shifting the freeway to the east and spanning the railroad tracks originally presented as the Raymus Express and rechristened recently by the city to the less traffic menacing sounding Raymus Parkway. The major arterial would go down to four lanes and then two lanes as it heads west to go through the backyards or front yards potentially of dozens upon dozens of rural homes outside of the city limits.

A previous council dropped both interchanges from the Public Facilities Implementation Plan after concluding there was inadequate funding to take care of other major street needs and interchange work. The two interchanges alone were expected to cost more than $150 million.

The general plan has no wording of even working with Ripon to secure funding if the Raymus interchange is built even though it is in the extreme southeast portion of Manteca’s planning area and abuts areas considered logical to annex to Ripon.

Nor does the streets section make any mention of the Caltrans $147 million three-phase upgrade of the 120 Bypass/99 interchange that breaks ground next year and ultimately will replace Austin Road with a four-lane interchange with muscular ramp movements.

The circulation plan also calls for:

*A four lane Cottage Avenue overpass of Highway 99 while keeping the segments of Cottage between Yosemite Avenue and the freeway and the freeway and Lathrop Road two lanes.

*Makes Airport Way four lanes from French Camp Road all the way to a point south of Peach Avenue with a segment between Daniels Street and Atherton Drive six lanes. That is on the map that also include extending Milo Candini Avenue to Yosemite and putting in a spine road for trucks west of Airport Way the current council has said they want to pursue to avoid the need to make any segment  north of Wawona Street wide than six lanes. Airport Way would also be six lanes crossing the freeway.

*Has Main Street as four lanes south to Sedan Avenue. At the same time it calls for making Main Street six lanes  from Woodward Avenue and across the freeway to Industrial Park Drive. Even though the city has promised to widen a segment though downtown to four lanes from Yosemite to Alameda, the map still reflects it as two lanes.

Comment period on draft

general plan underway

The draft general plan review period is now underway. It closes on Thursday, May 6. The General Plan and EIR can be viewed on the city’s website at: Submit written responses by 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 6, to J.D. Hightower, Deputy Director, at the address above or by email at

For more information contact the Development Services Department, 1512 W. Center Street, Suite 201, Manteca, CA 95337. Phone: (209) 456-8500. Fax: (209) 923-8949. 


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email