Moffat Boulevard — depending upon the location and time of day — has become a congested area with students crossing between cars, a place where large trucks park blocking the vision of pedestrians and drivers alike, and is a speedway.
City leaders have gotten an earful from frustrated residents who have also identified a number of spots they would like to see safety improvements made to make it more conducive for pedestrians and bicyclists to use as part of the $200,000 plus citywide non-vehicle traffic movement study now underway.
Instead of waiting for the study to be completed, the council wanted a solution advanced as soon as possible.
The Public Works staff has done just that.
On Tuesday when the City Council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St., they will be provided with a potential solution that would address all of the issues in one fell swoop from Main Street to Powers Avenue.
In a nutshell:
uParking will be removed from large segments of Main Street to South Powers Avenue except in front of the Manteca VFW Hall.
uA center turn lane varying between 11 feet and 13 feet in width will run from a point east of Powers to Main Street.
uTravel lanes will be 11 feet wide in each direction.
uThere will be 5-foot wide bike lanes in both directions except on one stretch where they will share the traffic lane.
uA school zone will be established from 400 feet east of Garfield Avenue to 400 feet west of Sherman Avenue with warnings traffic must slow to 25 mph when children are present.
uHigh profile crossings will be placed across Moffat on the west side of intersections with Garfield Avenue and Sherman Avenue by Manteca High along with flashing beacons on crosswalk signs. When the city typically puts in place such high profile crossings as they did on Cottage Avenue at Brookdale Way south of Louise Avenue they bar crossing the street on the other side of the intersection with a barrier made out of steel poles.
The proposal eliminates parents and others dropping off and/or picking up students along Moffat by Manteca High. The current practice is chaotic prompting the school resource officer assigned to Manteca High and staff to try and keep order.
The work now underway at Manteca High will include a roundabout with a drop-off zone along where the new gym is being built. That will allow for quick and safe drop-offs of students. Until then the upgrades on Moffat — that could happen as early as next spring if the council concurs — drivers would need to turn onto Garfield Avenue to drop-off and pick-up students.
Eliminating parking on this stretch of Moffat would help prevent the repeat of conditions where a semi-truck was parked three years ago blocking the view for both a student and a driver. The student ended up sustaining serious injuries crossing the street.
The next segment east of Garfield will allow street parking on the south side of Moffat only between the western entrance to the Manteca VFW Hall parking lot and a point about 10 car lengths west of the building
The city is working on creating additional off-street parking in the area to accommodate ACE passenger service in 2023 at the Manteca Transit Center. Initially 1,500 ACE riders are expected to board trains daily at the downtown station.
From Powers to a point east of Cowell Avenue, the city plans to continue to allow parking.
As the staff plan stands now, it doesn’t eliminate serious visibility issues for pedestrians. The city currently restricts vehicles to 6 feet or less on the north side of Moffat east of the Cowell intersection. When car are parked along the stretch, pedestrians have to step three to four feet into the street to see whether vehicles are coming from the east. Those vehicles typically travel at 45 mph or more.
Also the city put in place an access point to the Tidewater Bikeway at Cowell. Independent truckers routinely park their big rigs on top of the intersection on the south side of Moffat blocking visibility for pedestrians as well making all movements for pedestrians at the intersection dicey.
Also, a truck repair shop nearby at times will have semi-trucks parking on the street.
There are never any cars parked on the south side of Moffat from Powers to Cowell and rarely on the north side.
The presentation being made to the council that was included in the council packet does not indicate whether on-street truck parking would be banned east of Powers.
The width and “straight shot” on Moffat entices drivers to often exceed the speed limits. Studies have shown by narrowing the travel lanes — in this case by placing a continuous turning lane down the middle along with bike lanes — it slows the majority of traffic down.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org