Municipal planners and hired consultants may not grasp the growing community frustration over increasing Airport Way truck traffic but the Manteca Planning Commission does.
The commission — acting on a suggestion by member Jeff Zellner — on Thursday unanimously approved a 114,360-square-foot “last mile” e-commerce delivery distribution center with a recommendation a clearance bar be installed on the left turn lane out of the site to prevent trucks from turning south onto Airport Way.
The bar — typically attached by chains to a crossbar above attached to a free standing pole — is designed to warn truckers of impaired clearance. In this case it would likely read “Left turns for trucks prohibited” if it becomes part of the project.
Since it is a recommendation and not a requirement that would have required extensive findings, it will be up to the developer to determine if it will actually go in.
Even though there were assurances by Fehr & Peers — the traffic consultant that determined a Chick-fil-A on Northwoods Avenue would not impact Yosemite Avenue traffic flow — that truckers would only use the designated truck route which is turning north on Airport Way and then use Roth Road to reach Interstate 5, Zellner was not convinced that would happen all the time.
And after staff said “trucks will go where trucks want to go”, Zellner made the suggestion to recommend deploying the clearance bars.
Zellner’s recommendation essentially picked up the ball that was dropped two years ago before the major turnover at city hall that replaced all senior management. Public works — before the engineering division was created — had put in place a series of recommended “passive” traffic control measures to discourage illegal or dangerous movement 24-7 instead of relying on spotty and rare traffic enforcement.
Those passive measures designed to reduce the potential for traffic issues in new development as well as to deploy in existing development where speeding and cut-through traffic had become issues were developed after staff at the time listened to growing concerns of the public. While the clearance bar to prevent trucks turning onto non-legal truck routes exiting distribution centers wasn’t among the solutions developed in a traffic calming toolbox, it definitely fits the spirit.
Manteca residents have been critical of the city approving new distribution centers without addressing truck movement and truck route issues beyond what models paid consultants create using data based on assumptions instead of having a grasp of what motorists deal with day in and day out in Manteca.
The 114,360-square-foot warehouse is proposed for 25.16 acres on the west side of Airport Way just north of the Del Webb at Woodbridge neighborhood. A last-mile e-commerce facility such as the one envisioned on Airport Way is used by online companies to deliver orders with a very quick turnaround.
An estimated 10 to 20 semi-trucks are expected to deliver product to the facility daily. All truck loading and unloading will be screened with a wall and will not be visible from any public streets.
Goods are then loaded into vans that will make deliveries to an area typically within 30 to 45 minutes from the facility.
There will be parking spaces for 854 walk-in delivery vans. That is in addition to semi-truck and employee parking.
A last-mile e-commerce facility of the size proposed typically supports the creation of 400 to 500 jobs.
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