Moffat Boulevard is a major safety concern for Manteca Unified administrators.
Roughly half of the students now enter and exit the southern side of the campus where the student parking lot is located. Moffat is also growing as a favorite spot for parents picking up students when school lets out.
The modernization and expansion that is now underway at the 99-year-old campus will shift the major after school event traffic more to Moffat as the new gym being built where the swimming pool once was will be easier accessible by driving onto the campus from Moffat. Manteca High is also being expanded to allow it to handle 2,250 students. It has fewer than 1,700 students today. Also essentially all of those future students will be coming from south of the 120 Bypass and will access the campus via Moffat.
Moffat Boulevard has also popped up on Mayor Ben Cantu’s list of pressing city concerns. At a recent council meeting Cantu noted he is getting requests from the public to slow traffic down, noting Moffat Boulevard from Spreckels Avenue to Main Street “is a mile long shot” without a stop sign.
On the City of Manteca website (www.ci.manteca.ca.us/CommunityDevelopment/PlanningDivision under Active Transportation Plan) citizens have marked three areas they want to see made safer on Moffat. They are the two intersections by Manteca High (Sherman and Garfield avenues) and at Powers Avenue.
Manteca Deputy District Superintendent Roger Goatcher noted Moffat is on the Safe Routes to School radar — a collaborative effort where school and city officials look at ways of making going to and from school safer for youth.
Toss in the mix a surge in fatal accidents — there have been two within the past week — along with increased traffic, what seems to be less patience displayed by those behind the wheel, and the city’s plan to signciantly expand parking near the transit center to handle the 1,500 daily commuters projected to use the station when ACE service is extended in 2023 to downtown and there is a growing concern about speeding and safety on Moffat.
Complicating the matter further are the two intersections accessing Manteca High — Sherman and Garfield avenues — intersect Moffat at an angle creating visibility issues making left hand turns.
Those factors — left turn visibility concerns, speed, the safety of pedestrians crossing Moffat, congestion during drop off and pick up times, along with increased traffic — has prompted the district to consider discussing with the city the possible use of roundabouts.
Roundabouts were employed in East Modesto at Enochs High on four-lane Sylvan Road. One is at the main entrance to the campus where a pedestrian bridge crosses the four-lane Sylvan Road to remove foot traffic from the roundabout. The other is on the corner of the campus where Sylvan Road intersects with Roselle, which is also a four-lane road. A fair number of students cross at the intersection plus there is significant potential for more homes west of the high school campus.
The crosswalks — much like on the Manteca roundabout on Louise Avenue at Felice Way between Cottage Avenue and the Highway 99 — are placed before the roundabouts. There is also a “safe” spot midway across the street that is protected by a raised median.
This allows pedestrians to cross the four-lane street in two stages. It also allows pedestrians to focus on traffic coming at them from one direction at a time.
Mayor Cantu said he believes roundabouts are good solutions to enhance safety and keep traffic flowing in residential neighborhoods but he isn’t sold on their use in commercial areas. That said, Cantu indicated he planned to take a look at how the roundabouts are working next to Enochs High.
Given the city owns the property on the south side of Moffat and the school district owns the northeast corner of Moffat and Sherman, additional land needed for a roundabout could be minimal.
The school resource officer assigned to Manteca High along with administrators, are stationed along Moffat when school lets out to monitor the situation.
When the campus makeover is completed, vehicles will use a student drop off zone along a grand entrance plaza going from between where the new swimming pool will be located (roughly where the small gym is today) and where the new large gym will be built where the old swimming pool was removed. Vehicles — includes school buses — would exist onto Sherman Avenue.
The speed on Moffat is 40 mph in both directions past Manteca High as opposed to lower speeds on Yosemite Avenue where the city plans to install overhead flashing beacons activated by pedestrians to alert drivers at Sherman and Garfield avenues of people entering or in the crosswalk.
Moffat is not marked with signs as a school zone.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com