The possibility 229 acres previously approved for the building of 1,014 homes may instead be developed as a business park could raise the stakes at an upcoming series of community workshops aimed at developing a citywide truck route plan.
The first workshop is planned for Monday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m. at the Manteca Transit Center, 220 Moffat Blvd.
Developers have expressed interest in converting the approved 1,014-unit Villa Ticino West development planned for land sandwiched between Airport Way and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks an south of Louise Avenue and the Manteca Unified district office complex into a business park to take advantage of the boom for distribution centers.
Given the land is not now zoned for business park use it creates a dilemma about whether the potential change of plans by the developer should be a factor in the recommendation of the establishment of truck routes through the city.
The possibility of more business parks along Airport Way is in addition to existing zoned land for such purposes being developed at CenterPoint Business Park and other nearby properties.
There are already residents fighting the possibility Airport Way may become a truck route. Yet the Airport Way corridor has a growing number of business parks where distribution centers for Tactical 5.11 and Lowe’s Home Improvement Centers are already located along with other endeavors within a block or so of the north-south arterial including Amazon Plus and Medline that will soon open a 585,000-square-foot operation just north of Villa Ticino.
The possible zoning change — if pursued — would likely mean eventually Airport Way through Manteca north of Wawona Street to the northern city limits that are now at Roth Road would be business parks on the west side backing up to the railroad tracks with housing on the east side of Airport Way.
Airport Way presents a Catch 22 challenge for the city. For years they’ve been criticized for creating too much housing opportunities and not enough employment opportunities. Converting Villa Ticino West into a business park would eliminate roughly 12 percent of the nearly 9,000 housing units in various stages of approval and entitlement. The conversion is likely to add hundreds of jobs to the Manteca economy.
It also will generate less vehicle traffic volume given residences tend to generate more trips during the day and week compared to a business park. But that comes with a tradeoff — more heavy truck traffic. And you can’t snare the type of employment opportunities that are now coming to business parks in South San Joaquin County without increasing truck traffic.
Toss in the fact the Union Pacific Railroad intermodal facility is on Roth Road just off Airport Way where truck trailers and taken on and off rail flatcars for long distance shipping with its approved plans to more than double transfers in the coming years and having a plan in place that accommodates employment opportunities that is tolerable to residents becomes a pressing challenge.
Already truck traffic trying to access distribution centers such as for SaveMart and Raley’s plus other business park style concerns along the Lathrop Road corridor in Lathrop has become an issue for those living along Lathrop Road in Manteca.
Truck routes are designed to keep trucks off of city streets where their operation may be problematic. Ideally it steers them away from streets that are designed to take the heavy pounding trucks have on pavement.
Pavement experts using research from the Federal Highway Administration estimate the projected impact on pavement of one fully loaded axle on a big rig truck is equal to more than 1,000 passenger cars. That said trucks pay significantly higher road and fuel related taxes to pay for pavement work.
The pavement on Spreckels Avenue — one of the heaviest traveled streets for trucks in Manteca — has developed significant pavement issues after 15 years of truck movements. Spreckels Avenue is on the list of streets Manteca will address pavement issues on during the next several years.
Trucking firms over the years have been frustrated with the city for developing business parks and then not making sure turn radiuses are provided at intersections where trucks need to go to deliver and pick up loads. One example was the right-hand turn from Main Street to Mission Ridge Drive that finally was altered to allow the longer trucks to access Spreckels Park and the Manteca Business Park using the designated STAA truck route designation that allows for longer trailers.
Establishment of designated truck routes does not prohibit trucks from using other streets when they need to make local deliveries to stores and other destinations.
Also what may surface in workshops as an issue are frustrations Lathrop Road residents have had trying to get enforcement action against trucks that are allowed on designated STAA truck routes because they are longer but not on other streets due to safety concerns that including being able to make right hand turns safety without a major effort.
In the past Manteca Police have indicated they leave such enforcement on trucks to the CHP because they lack the training to determine whether a ticket is warranted in such cases.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com