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VACATING STREET INCREASES SAFETY, REDUCES CONGESTION
City-school partnership at Manteca High
garfield
Manteca High Principal Frank Gonzales near a section of Garfield Avenue that slices the campus in two.

Reduced congestion and enhanced student safety prior and after school at Manteca High is the end result of the proposed vacating of a segment of Garfield Avenue.

The Manteca Planning Commission will consider a step that says such a move is consistent with the general plan. Such a determination is needed to make the safety improvements. The commission meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

It is one of two major student safety projects Measure G bond proceeds are funding to improve traffic safety at high schools. The other is at East Union High.

The vacating of the 0.64 acre right of way from Mikesell Avenue to the southern edge of the student parking lot will allow the Manteca High campus to no longer be cut in half by a public street. It will allow the placement of wrought iron fencing to secure the campus that has had issues with homeless sleeping at various locations overnight as well as people intermingling with students during the school day.

There have been several incidents over the years with individuals prompting a police response including a homeless individual a few years back that wandered onto the campus with a large knife attached to his belt while students were in class.

The wrought iron fencing was selected as it can’t be cut as the homeless have repeatedly done near the football field. It is also more difficult to climb over.

Changes planned by the Manteca Unified School District using Measure G funds that the city’s vacating of the Garfield Avenue segment will allow include:

*Creating a turnaround on the southern portion of Garfield. That will allow a gate to be placed across a driveway accessing the campus while at the same time allowing vehicles to turn around at the end of the public street in an easy fashion.

*From that gate, a driveway will be created that once it reaches a point next to where the swimming pool was removed, will swing to the west past a future plaza that will serve as a student drop-off point. The driveway would continue south past the new swimming pool going roughly where the old small gym has just been demolished. It will then go past where the new 2,161-seat big gym is being built where the softball field was once located. The gym will border Sherman Avenue.

*A driveway and sidewalk access point complete with gates will then be placed at the edge of Sherman Avenue.

That will allow one-way traffic entering the campus from the southern stub of Garfield that would be created and then leaving the campus via Sherman Avenue once students are dropped off or picked up. It will create a long enough queue that it should ease much of the congestion along Moffat Boulevard before and after school.

The City Council has instructed municipal staff to take steps to allow the renaming of the Garfield Avenue stub that would be designated as Buffalo Way or some other appropriate name celebrating Manteca High. The council also asked that Thomas Street in front of Sierra High be renamed Timberwolf Way. Both streets have no other concerns with existing addresses along them. There is already a Lancer Way connecting with Sprague at Union Road.

The school district will also create a bus turnout from what is now the intersection of Garfield and Mikesell to a point to the east where it will end near a home. New classrooms will be built immediately to the south of the turnout where there are now portable classrooms and a small parking lot that will be removed.

The school district and the city have been working together to improve traffic flow and safety around the 100-year-old Manteca High campus. Two high profile crosswalks with pedestrian activated overhead flashing lights were installed by the city on Yosemite Avenue intersections with Sherman Avenue as well as Garfield Avenue.

The city installed crosswalks with sign mounted flashing lights at Sherman and Garfield avenues where they T-intersect with Moffat Boulevard. Bollards also were placed in the middle of the crosswalk by the city. Plans call for eliminating parking between Garfield and Sherman on Moffat by painting the curbs red. That will reduce congestion from cars that have picked up — or are dropping off — students from going in and out of traffic.

It is also designed to discourage students from cutting across Moffat mid-block.

The Measure G East Union High project would create a new bus drop off and entry from Northgate Drive between a PE field and tennis courts. It will connect with eastern end of the existing parking lot where it meets the main gym.

 

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com