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At entrance to new age-restricted neighborhood
Work will start soon on a roundabout on Louise Avenue at Felice Way. - photo by Bulletin file photo
Work on Manteca’s first roundabout on a major street will start in the coming months.
The City Council tonight is expected to approve the final agreement with Trumark Homes to install a roundabout on Louise Avenue at the entrance to a 492-home neighborhood that will align with the existing Felice Way that accesses the 99-home Rodoni Estates neighborhood to the south.
The work that also includes other improvements along Louise Avenue from the edge of the bridge over Highway 99 to a point east of Felice Way where Trumark’s property ends that will cost the developer about $1.7 million. It will be the first roundabout north of the 120 Bypass.
There are two entrances to the age restricted neighborhood dubbed TruLiving in Manteca. The other is onto Southland Road. In the early planning there were concerns voiced by neighbors to the north that a   good share of the future residents would use the Southland access to reach the Lathrop Road/Highway 99 interchange to commute to and from work. But given the fact the neighborhood will be age-restricted, it is likely even more traffic than originally expected would access the neighbored via Louise Avenue.
The city opted to require the roundabout instead of traffic signals for five reasons.
They did not want two intersections close together controlled by traffic signals which would create a severe disruption in traffic control.  There are signals already at Louise Avenue and Cottage Avenue.
The city’s long-term maintenance costs would be significantly lower by going with a roundabout in lieu of traffic signals.
It keeps traffic moving and reduces speed at the same time.
It improves air quality by eliminating stop signs which in turn reduces air pollution created by stop and go movements.
It would make it somewhat safer for pedestrians to cross.
The basic functional design will be similar to the roundabout on four-lane 11th Street just west of Interstate 5 where it intersects with West Gantline Road/Kasson Road on the way to Tracy.  Two lanes of eastbound and westbound Louise will wrap around the landscaped roundabout. At the same time Felice Way will have one travel lane in each direction feed into the roundabout. Typically roundabouts have yield signs and not stop signs.
Trumark will be required to widen their side of Louise Avenue to accommodate four lanes with curbs gutters and sidewalks.
That will still leave a pair of two-lane stretches on Louise Avenue between Airport Way in the west and Pestana Avenue in the east — the overpass of Highway 99 and a segment just east of Main Street.
Neighborhoods built in Manteca during the last several years as well as those moving toward groundbreaking all have roundabouts. They are typically along neighborhood entrance streets and near parks.
The use of roundabouts allows the city to keep traffic moving while slowing it down enough to allow access from connector streets. They also go toward meeting a mandate of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to reduce vehicle idling. The more time vehicles have to stop at traffic signals or stop signs, the less efficiently they burn carbon-based fuel which in turn impacts air quality. Idling vehicles are a major source of valley air pollution.
Roundabouts also save cities considerable amount of money and can reduce the cost of new homes. That is accomplished by deploying roundabouts instead of traffic signals wherever feasible on moderately traveled streets. Not only does that save $500,000 in upfront cost for signals but it reduces ongoing maintenance costs. The reduced development costs also can translate into slightly lower housing prices. The cost of neighborhood infrastructure including improvements to nearby arterial streets are collapsed into the price of a new home.
The Manteca council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email