There were no speeding cars on Pinewood, Sugar Pine, and Cedar Valley Tuesday afternoon in Lathrop’s Woodfield Estates neighborhood.
That’s despite the fact the three named streets form a long loop roadway that created nothing but issues with speeding after the neighborhood was built nearly 20 years ago.
The reason for the improved conditions? Speed humps.
There are four locations with speed humps on the abovementioned streets. In observing 35 vehicles between 3 and 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, 33 substantially slowed down their speed to cross the humps. Two didn’t. One was going fairly slow to begin with while the other seems to going above the posted speed. When it hit the hump at an unsafe speed — there are designed for speeds of 10 to 15 mph — it jarred the vehicle. Experts say it causes discomfit to the occupants and can shift cargo.
The other vehicles gently crossed the speed humps with a slight rocking effect.
Lathrop also has aggressively deployed all-way stops along the loop street.
Councilman Gary Singh believes the time is long overdue for the council to get Manteca’s municipal staff past their historic reluctance to embrace the use of speed humps.
“It’s not like Manteca will be the first city to ever use them,” Singh said.
Objections to the speed humps have come from legal counsel that believes they would increase the city’s exposure to liability and emergency responders concerned it would slow response times. Nearby cities including Stockton and Lathrop have weighed such concerns and came to the conclusion enhancing pedestrian and overall safety on streets outweighed any drawbacks.
Speed humps are designed for neighborhood and “connector streets”. They are designed to keep traffic flowing in a smooth manner will reducing excessive speed that poses a threat to pedestrians and even drivers backing out of driveways.
Singh said he wants to see speed humps deployed initially on a trial basis to see how they work in Manteca.
“I want it done,” said Singh who noted a top consistent concern of his constituents is speeding throughout Manteca.
Councilwoman Debby Moorhead shares Singh’s position. She’d like to see the first speed humps be placed on a section of Clearwater Creek Boulevard that serves as the “collector street” for the Union Ranch neighborhood east of Del Webb at Woodbridge.
Singh noted building neighborhoods with narrower streets such as Del Webb does in all of their communities also helps slow traffic.
Councilman Mike Morowit said he is expecting staff to follow through on initially securing radar speed signs for permanent placement as the initial step to address Mission Ridge Drive speeding and safety issues.
“It (Mission Ridge) has to be the city’s top priority,” Morowit said. “There have been issues with the street for years.”
Morowit noted staff was expecting to have something to start addressing Mission Ridge concerns within the coming weeks. He added he expects the city to look at other ways to calm traffic on Mission Ridge as well.
Morowit pointed out a targeted enforcement effort by Manteca Police on Pillsbury Road south of Woodward Avenue has resulted in a number of tickets being issued — all to residents of the neighborhoods that use the collector street.
Morowit said the city has just filled a position in the public works department that includes addressing neighborhood traffic issues as one of the job duties.
He pointed out the city has had a difficult time hiring qualified personnel for many positions given the current job market.
Both Singh and Morowit — while supportive of hiring more police officers — don’t believe that is the answer when it comes to effectively addressing neighborhood speeding issues.
They favor passive solutions — roundabouts, stop signs, speed humps, solar powered flashing beacons on stop signs, and narrower streets among other options.
“You’ve got to be careful with what you do,” Morowit noted. “If you place too may stop signs you get people starting to speed between them (to make up time).”
Singh added that passive solutions would provide a 24/7 impact while a $150,000 plus a year dedicated traffic officer would provide 40 hours of enforcement spreads over 200 miles plus of center line streets.
Morowit wants the city to have a reasonable inventory of either the radar speed signs and other devices on hand or else an extremely quick turnaround relationship with a vendor so that when issues arrive they can be addressed as quickly as possible.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin