Manteca’s $28.4 million diverging interchange — the first in California — won’t open until Black Friday.
It has already been christened, though, by the bane of Manteca neighborhoods and businesses.
Graffiti has already popped up on the walls of the bicycle/pedestrian undercrossing of the westbound off-ramp. While the contractor will have to remove it before the project is turned over to the city it underscores two problems Manteca needs to tackle: How to keep the two bicycle/pedestrian undercrossings at the Union Road and 120 Bypass interchange free of graffiti and free of homeless as well as how can the city stay on top graffiti as then pandemic lingers keeping Manteca Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police out of action.
During the approval process for the interchange, staff discussed various security measures including surveillance cameras with a direct feed to the Manteca Police dispatch center. They also discussed the use of “The Mosquito”, a small box that emits high frequency sounds that are irritating to people that are placed outside of convenience stores and such to disperse loiters and homeless.
Whatever “prevention” strategy they come up with it, the tagging makes it clear that it needs to be up and running when the interchange opens.
The Manteca City Council on Tuesday signed off on a plan to close the off and on ramps completely to allow the work to be completed in time for Black Friday traffic as well as save $200,000. That also means the much needed auxiliary lanes between Union Road and the Airport Way and Main Street interchanges will be open before holiday traffic hits. If the ramps did not close work would take until March.
As far as graffiti throughout Manteca, city crews have stepped up since the pandemic forced the suspension of the volunteer graffiti abatement through SHARP. That said, the SHARP unit was much more effective as rarely did graffiti linger as it does now before being abated. A case in point is the Van Ryn Avenue underpass of the 120 Bypass.
Manteca steps up
The first walk around of downtown Manteca with city department heads — police, public works, the city manager’s office, fire, and others — with business and property owners is taking place this morning at 9 o’clock.
Assistant City Manager Lisa Blackmon indicated the walk around is designed to address “smaller issues” that may escape the city’s attention that may be problematic of detrimental to downtown in addition to the bigger picture.
Given the fairly high importance residents have put on wanting a flourishing downtown, the city giving downtown their ear with the intent to help remedy issues when the city can is a solid move.
Blackmon expects the walk arounds to be monthly occurrences.
Mayor Ben Cantu is expected to tag along for today’s inaugural walk around.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com