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Cantu wants signals at Airport & Atherton now instead of later

Ben Cantu — while he doesn’t yet feel comfortable saying his lead over incumbent Mayor Steve DeBrum will hold until all outstanding Manteca ballots are counted — is already going to bat for constituents.

He inquired at City Hall Wednesday after being approached by a resident about when traffic signals would be going in at Atherton Drive and Airport Way given that the extension of Atherton Drive to Union Road will be completed before mid-2019. That will create a “bypass” route of the 120 Bypass that will go from Airport Way to Woodward Avenue near Moffat and then connect with Highway 99 to continue toward Modesto.

Anyone who lives or drives south of the 120 Bypass knows how nutso the traffic is. And given the amount of backup on Moffat at Austin Road it is clear the vehicles aren’t generated from Ripon or Modesto residents who might work in Manteca and decide to head home that way.

Cantu noted after staff said the city needs to use what growth funds they have collected so far and will collect in the near future specifically for traffic projects to help pay for interchanges on the 120 Bypass at Union Road and McKinley Avenue as well as pay for the construction of the Atherton gap project, that he doesn’t want to wait until the Public Facilities Improvement Plan funds are replenished in 10 years or so.

Cantu believes “someone” needs to get together with the developers to have the signals installed as soon as possible.

That could be a little tricky given how developers are paying what the city has required them to do to cover such road work when they pay for a building permit.  Adhering to state law and court decisions, new growth can only legally be assessed for the demand for such traffic improvements they create.

The other method the city has traditionally used is to have developers when they go to build on land adjacent to sites where major work is needed such as $450,000 plus the traffic signals at Atherton and Airport would cost, to pay a prorated share of the improvements. The land on the three corners of Airport and Atherton where Cantu wants the signals is zoned commercial. There has been no movement at all in recent years to develop the land.

Cantu — should he get elected — will find at least one councilman that shares his view the signals are needed now and not later at Atherton and Airport.

Back in November Councilman Gary Singh pushed for the city to look at placing traffic signals at Airport Way and Atherton Drive once the $4 million road gap is built. Councilman Richard Silverman argued in favor of waiting until such time traffic volume justified signals and the issue was dropped.

It’s safe to say traffic, road conditions, speeding, and issues such as people seemingly becoming bolder running red lights and disregarding stop signs were among the issues that weighed heavily on the minds of Manteca voters.


More subsidized

low-income senior

apartments on the way

Site work has started on Manteca’s fourth affordable housing complex for low-income seniors will be made possible through the issuance of tax-exempt bonds.

The 48-unit Cottage Village Senior Apartments are being built on the southeast quadrant of the Cottage Avenue overcrossing of Highway 99.

And since we just talked about traffic issues, the entrance to the complex will align with Alameda Street’s current T-intersection with Cottage Avenue that was never intended to be a collector street let alone a quasi-arterial. The biggest problem likely will be traffic heading south cresting the overpass that is rarely going below the speed limit as it passes through the Alameda intersection. And in case you’re wondering the traffic calming program the municipal staff is now finalizing primarily addresses neighborhood streets.

At one point Mayor Steve DeBrum suggested requiring a roundabout as part of the senior housing construction while there was still room to put it in but that was batted down due to traffic conditions didn’t yet warrant such an improvement.

Long story short, if the intersection lives up to its potential to become more problematic with residents of 48 senior housing units using it to get to and from their homes the only solution Manteca would have left is a four-way stop sign.

Things could get real interesting in the coming years.

The city is contributing $2,630,000 in residual redevelopment bond sale proceeds to the apartment complex that was part of the mandatory 20 percent set aside for affordable housing that was required under state law. Manteca also added $450,000 in pass through housing funds the city obtained the federal government to help pay for the $14 million project.

The complex is envisioned to have 13 single story buildings designed as duplexes and four-plexes housing 48 living units as well as a community center along with a community garden.

They would be rented to seniors whose income is between 30 and 60 percent of the area income. Based on the 2012 Manteca median income of $55,563 those renting the property could need to have an annual income between $16,668 and $33,336 to qualify for the subsidized rents with the monthly charge based on a sliding scale.

Once the complex is completed it would remain as affordable housing for 55 years.


It would have one entrance that roughly aligns with Alameda Street. The complex would have carports for tenants.

The majority of the units would have one-bedroom and one-bathroom units while some will be two-bedroom, one bathroom unit. The complex will have solar panels for electricity and solar panels for hit water.

The city’s now-defunct RDA helped fund the Almond Terrace subsidized senior apartments on North Union Road just south of Lathrop Road as well as Magnolia Court on North Grant Avenue north of Bank of Stockton.

Eskaton Senior Manor on Eastwood Avenue in north Manteca just south of Northgate Drive also is a subsidized low-income senior complex.

And in case anyone is worried about future

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email