A key to solving Manteca’s Rubik’s Cube of helping residents access better paying employment opportunities might just be the downtown transit center.
Starting next year, Altamont Corridor Express trains will provide commute service from the downtown Manteca Transit Center to the job-rich Silicon Valley as well as employment opportunities in downtown Sacramento.
And unlike the existing Lathrop-Manteca ACE station away from population centers sandwiched between a meat packing plant and a business park, the downtown transit center is within walking distance of the bulk of Manteca’s most affordable neighborhoods.
Leveraging ACE with robust connectively could broaden the employment opportunities for numerous low-income residents without the need to rely on cars to make long commutes to better paying jobs.
And while the connectively to current and future ACE stops such as in downtown San Jose, Great America at the doorstep of the Silicon Valley and Sacramento is already robust, the City of Manteca is working to increase public mobility locally to travel to and from the local transit center.
The draft Downtown Transit Center Connectivity and Enhancement Plan is being featured at a communitywide workshop seeking feedback. It takes place on Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 5:30 p.m. at the Civic Center council, chambers, 1001 W. Center St.
The draft plan focuses on bicycle and pedestrian improvements that are being proposed
Manteca is spending almost $270,000 to come up with the plan to make it easier for most economically disadvantaged residents in the neighborhoods in and around downtown to make use of the mobility options the Transit City is now providing and will add in the future.
The City Council in December 2020 accepted a $238,966 Caltrans grant matched with $30,961 of in-kind city labor that involves conducting workshops and related activities in multiple languages including English and Spanish, a first for Manteca.
The plan references Caltrans’ Smart Mobility Framework “which applies principles of location efficiency, readability mobility, health and safety, environmental stewardship, social and a robust economy to transportation challenges.”
It addresses “land use and transportation efforts to improve connectivity, focus on lower income residents and create a more walkable and bicycle-friendly city.”
In other words, the goal is to make it easier for low income people to move about to access jobs, services, shopping and such in a safe manner that meets green environmental standards.
Given the Manteca Transit Center is slowing transforming into a true regional transit hub, the city by teaming up with the Local Government Commission of the Catholic Charities Diocese of Stockton was able to secure part of the $29.5 million offered statewide for such planning.
The Transit Center already serves as the main hub for Manteca Transit and the main connection point for San Joaquin Regional Transit buses. Modesto Area Express bus service added the transit center to its Stockton service that connects with train transportation to Sacramento.
Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) service that includes passenger rail connections to San Jose and Sacramento is due to start in 2023.
That means the transit center could be a key to those living in identified nearby “disadvantaged” neighborhoods such as Powers Tract, north and east of Sequoia School, north of Yosemite Avenue as far west as Walnut Avenue and north as Alameda Street to Fremont Street in the east to access education, employment, services, and shopping in Manteca, San Joaquin County and the larger region consisting of the Bay Area and Sacramento.
Census tract data shows the majority of the households in the area incorporated into the downtown transit center connectivity and enhancement plan have incomes below 80 percent of the statewide median household income. As such, the assumption is they might not own a car and may tend to travel more by walking, bicycling or using transit systems.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com