All Robert Fennell and Steve Keegan wanted was a stop sign.
It was a simple request, or at least that’s what the two long-time Mission Ridge Drive residents thought.
On Thursday after being schooled during a community workshop on the city’s proposed new traffic calming devices that is driven by legal constraints requiring a methodical and fairly drawn out process, they decided they’re going to play their ace.
Simply put, they plan on approaching council members to place an item on the Nov. 20 City Council to ask for the prerequisite study required before the city can install a stop sign at a new location on municipal streets. They argue it would cut to the chase given the driving behavior they’ve been seeing on Mission Ridge Drive hasn’t improved all that much since the city has installed radar signs that flash a vehicle’s speed below a posted speed sign as well as narrowing travel lanes from 15 to 10 feet by putting a 5-foot wide bike lane on a portion of the Mission Ridge corridor.
It’s not that they don’t have patience.
But it’s been almost a year since they initially made the request on behalf of their neighbors and after the proposed traffic calming process was explained to them that it requires more steps than have already been taken to get to the point of considering stop signs at which time a more intense study would have to be done.
In short the city may not get around for a year or more from now to even look at accident, traffic data, and any physical issues needed before a stop sign can be considered assuming the council adopts the traffic calming program as proposed on Nov. 20.
Deputy Public Works Director Kossun Kim, who conducted Thursday’s workshop, agreed with Fennell and Keegan that “Mission Ridge is almost a raceway” due to its design. But he noted the city needs to have a process in place to protect it from increased liability if they deploy traffic calming devices as well as do a fairly exhaustive study before installing stop signs to make sure they are justified.
It was clear Thursday that what ails Mission Ridge Drive is a harbinger of future neighborhood frustrations with City Hall’s response to speeding especially on collector streets as well as those streets that have become de facto collector streets as Manteca has developed such as Cottage Avenue and Pillsbury Road.
It was also brought up Thursday about the need to slow traffic on Pillsbury Road where Manteca radar has clocked some vehicles traveling at 52 mph in an area that is posted 25 mph due to homes lining the street. A resident along Powers Avenue — the oldest collector street in Manteca that was born in the modern subdivision age that can be traced back to the 1950s — suggested rumble strips to get the attention of speeding drivers.
Powers Avenue between Marin Street and Moffat Boulevard was one of the first collector street to ever have traffic calming improvements made under the existing municipal program adopted in 2000. That project involved bulb-out style islands at three intersections, painting bike lanes and placing stop signs on Powers Avenue at Marin Street.
Residents in recent years have noted an uptick in speeding
On Crom Street — another collector — the city also installed bulb-outs and stop signs to slow traffic.
What residents want
along Mission Ridge
There are more than 150 homeowners who live along the 82-foot wide Mission Ridge Drive between Union Road and South Main Street. The 1.5-mile street designed as a wide collector street has just two stop signs and is posted for 30 mph. But its proximity to the Wal-Mart shopping plus its growing popularity on weekends as a short cut to reach Costco — the street actually starts on Cottage Avenue before turning into Spreckels Avenue, then Industrial Park Drive, and then Mission Ridge Drive before a short jaunt on Union Road takes motorists to Daniels Street and onto Costco – is creating more problems as Manteca grows.
Fennell and Keegan are seeking additional all-way stops and crosswalks at Swan Drive and Mission Ridge as well as Locust Avenue and Mission Ridge.
Kim pointed out that the traffic calming program, if approved by the council, would allow the staff to implement improvements that likely won’t trigger other issues or problems on nearby streets by sending problematic traffic on to those roads after a request is made and prerequisite assessments and community outreach to the impacted neighborhood is made.
Solutions that can have negative impacts or have a strong potential to increase city liability would require council direction as well as additional studies. Such solutions would include stop signs, traffic circles, speed lumps that allow emergency vehicles to pass without slowing down, speed humps, speed tables, and raised crosswalks that are placed at curb level and create a crosswalk-wide speed hump for traffic.
Modifications such as painting bike lanes to narrow the vehicle travel lane as well as radar signs would be something the staff could authorize following the process in the traffic calming program if it is adopted by the council.
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