Stop signs went up on Woodward Avenue at Pillsbury Avenue and within hours they were christened by a Manteca resident that posted a bright green yard sale sign on one of the stop sign poles.
It should be noted it is illegal to post signs on poles in public right of way whether they are holding up signs or are for street lights, power lines, or traffic signals. That said the city tends to look the other way hoping people will have the common decency to return and remove them after their yard sale has ended. Few people bother to do so yet everyone likes to complain about how trashy things can get a times along city streets.
If it wasn’t for Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police volunteers canvassing Manteca after every weekend to look for such signs and removing them the city’s streets would be a cluttered mess of signs that would eventually end up becoming litter.
The same firm that put in place the stop signs to make Woodward at Pillsbury a three-way stop also have replaced the pavement crosswalk flashers that stopped working 30 months ago with a high visibility crosswalk with overhead flashing beacons that are activated by pedestrians. The contract was awarded last year but work was delayed when the poles that contractor ordered weren’t available for a number of months. Then PG&E — as is tradition with construction work they require government agencies and the private sector to schedule months in advance — failed to honor their commitment to do the work on a set date that was secured with a deposit by several months.
The stop signs on Woodward at Pillsbury have already caused a noticeable slowdown in Woodward Avenue traffic although the reason they were installed was to make it safer for vehicles turning on and off Pillsbury Avenue.
Park in downtown
Today’s Arts in the Park staged annually by the Manteca Mayor’s Committee on the Arts is not taking place where it has for years at Library Park in downtown Manteca even though a $1.1 million park redo and expansion complete with kids playground equipment, interactive water play feature and gazebo was designed to make the park a kid and family friendly venue.
The reason for the move to Giles Park at 545 West Alameda next to the Boys & Girls Club where the free event takes place today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. is likely the same as why the Tuesday evening farmers market relocated to Orchard Valley — the homeless that tend to hang around the park.
There is little doubt it is a lot better than before and that there have been no negative incidents in recent months but many people are simply uncomfortable with homeless milling nearby.
No one is arguing that everyone — including the homeless — doesn’t have the right to use city parks as long as they aren’t breaking the law. It’s just reality.
When the farmers market pulled out some claimed that the organizers had a problem with obtaining city permits. That wasn’t the case. More than a few vendors voiced concern that homeless would hang around their booths making them feel uncomfortable and elevating concerns they could be victims of a crime.
Whether that is fair to feel that way, perceptions are perceptions. People have the right to vote with their feet just as homeless have the right to use the park with the only provision everyone follows the law.
The fact that Arts in the Park — a June staple at Library Park — should serve notice that there is a lot that needs to be done yet to reduce homeless issues as well as making heading downtown more appealing.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org