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Super commuters draw interest of businesses
new gas station
The canopy of the new Chevron gas station that just opened at Union Road and Atherton Drive frames Living Spaces that is part of the overall Union Crossing development.

Gas station operators see Manteca — especially south of the 120 Bypass that is ground zero for city growth — as the promised land.

It’s not bard to understand why.

*It is where almost all of the city’s 2.3 to 3.5 percent  annual growth over the past four years has taken place.

*There is literally a “desert” of retail concerns south of the freeway where projections anticipate 40 percent of Manteca’s overall population  to reside by 2035.

*It is home to a growing collection of super commuters.

The new Chevron station, convenience store, and car wash that has just opened at Union Road and Atherton Drive joins an existing Chevron station a mile away on Main Street just north of Atherton Drive.

At the same time, the Maverick gas station approved for Airport Way and Atterton Drive is expected to go forward before the rest of the commercial development at the that location.

And while there is growing demand for retail south of the Bypass with upwards of 500 to 600 homes being added a year, the immediate demand is for gas — lots of gas.

The 209 is the undisputed leader when it comes to the growth of “super commuters”.

And Manteca south of the Bypass gains more each month.

Super commuters are the ones chasing paychecks to support their families by driving 90 minutes or more in one direction to reach a job.

That’s three hours plus a day.

The Bay Area for years has been part of the top three regions in the country for super commutes. The others are Los Angeles and New York.

But it wasn’t until the last decade that the metro areas of Stockton (including Manteca, Lathrop, Ripon, Tracy, and Mountain House) and Modesto (including Ceres and Turlock) broke away from the pack of other outer suburbs of major cities to become the undisputed king of the road when it comes to super commuter growth.

Nowhere in the nation are there metro areas with a higher percentage of super commuters in the workforce than Stockton-Modesto,

Manteca is not only midway between the two cities but is also a few miles closer to Interstate 205 that leads to the job rich Ba Area west of the Altamont Pass.

Those driving 3 plus hours a day to and from work now represent 11.7 percent of the workforce in the Stockton metro area and 9.6 percent in the Modesto metro area.

The next closest are Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middleton in New York at 8.5 percent, Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk in Connecticut at 7.5 percent and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario at 7.4 percent. After that metro areas drop below 5 percent in terms of how much of the workforce are super commuters.

Five of the 10 top super commuter metro areas are in California. Four of those are part of the NorCal metroplex anchored by San Francisco. The other two include Santa Rosa-Petaluma at 4.3 percent and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara at 3.8 percent.

And nowhere has the growth in the percentage of super commuters been greater than in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

 Since 2010 there has been a 133 percent jump in super commuters in the Stockton metro area and a 97 percent jump in the Modesto area. The third spot on the national list drops all the way down to a 23 percent growth for super commuters in the Poughkeepsie-NewBurgh-Middletown metro area.

Not surprisingly the No. 1 and No. 3 metro areas in the nation when it comes to the increase in the ranks of super commuters were Stockton at 25 percent and Modesto at 20 percent.

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara was No. 2 at 23 percent.

The data is gleaned from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email