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Mantecas own Grand Central
Transit station designed as downtown icon
transit-station lt
The entrance to the transit station will face Moffat Boulevard. - photo by Photo Contributed

The corner of South Main Street and Moffat Boulevard doesn’t look like much today.

It’s just a bunch of barren ground that’s fenced off.

But nine months from now a transit station with its “Grand Central” theme will be the center of attention in downtown Manteca.

City leaders are hoping the transit station - complete with a clock tower and possibly even an 80foot flag pole flying an oversized Old Glory - will become a downtown icon.

And that’s exactly what the 24-member citizen 2020 Vision Task Force envisioned 14 years ago when a transit station was identified as a key anchor for the revitalization of downtown.

Crews will start working in earnest on the $7.3 million transit station in the coming weeks. It is targeted for dedication during downtown Manteca’s biggest event in April - the 17th annual Crossroads Street Fair.

It is more than just a transit station to tie together  city and regional bus services, taxis, and potential Altamont Commuter Express rail service when the commuter line is extended into Modesto. It is designed as a downtown gathering place and focal point complete with indoor meeting/banquet rooms and an outdoor plaza.

The building is more than just about function. Its modern brick look with expansive glass accented with arches inside and out will come complete with a clock tower visible to both South Main and Moffat traffic.

It is the fourth leg of a $15 million municipal investment in Manteca’s central district that reflects city’s commitment to keep the downtown area viable as the community grows.

The city earlier this year completed the expansion of Library Park just over three blocks away. Prior to renovation work starting seven years ago, it was simply a collection of stately sycamores with a few tables and an aging gazebo. Since then the city has added restrooms, two playgrounds, an interactive water play feature, a gazebo with amphitheatre seating, torn out pavement and put in more grass, added murals, and extended the Tidewater lighting and streetscape motif into the park.

Work also was completed earlier this year on the new animal shelter just across the tracks from the transit station site. Work is now nearing completion on the new city vehicle maintenance facility just south of the animal shelter.

By April that means what was once one of the least appealing stretches of the city’s Main Street - an aging ice house, an old lumber yard, and a used car lot - will have been transformed into a transit station, animal shelter, and a municipal vehicle maintenance facility.

What transit station includes

The transit station includes:

•a large community room that can be divided in two for use for dinners, receptions, and other events complete with a kitchen facility.

•an expansive outdoor plaza designed to accommodate events such as an outdoors farmers market.

•a large clock tower visible in all directions.

Architect Eric Wohle of LDA Partners has  described the station’s design with its extensive use of brick, varied elevations of cast stone, window arches, and a steel canopy entrance for the plaza as embracing a “Grand Central” theme. The design is carried on inside  throughout the lobby and the community rooms with a high ceiling complete with arch trusses in the lobby to provide the building with the appearance of looking taller than it really is.

The design is about more than just pleasing the eye.

•The higher pitched ceiling in the community room has been designed with dropped “clouds” consisting of acoustical panels to soften noise.

•The materials used - such as wainscoting on the walls in the lobby and the community room - are designed to reduce maintenance costs.

•The design has been modified so if only person is on staff in the building at the ticket window that they have a clear visual line to the community room entrances.

The restrooms accessible to the public and the community room address a common complaint women have - not enough toilets. The women’s bathroom has eight toilets while the men’s side has two toilets and a pair of urinals.

There are 108 parking spaces on the 3.1-acre site, bus drop off zones with shelters and safety fence to keep passengers away from Moffat traffic.  A vehicle drop-off zone will be in place on Moffat as well as on site complete with a turn-around. Dedicated left turns would be added to Moffat for entering the transit station parking lot. A pedestrian crosswalk will also be added on Moffat.

The project will also include putting in place a fiber optic line between the Civic Center and the transit station. It wil be the backbone of a city system to provide security cameras at selected bus stops as well as parks throughout Manteca.

Funding for the project is from county, state, and federal sources that are restricted to transit related projects. It includes $2.6 million from the federal Transit Administration, $1.8 million from Proposition 1B, $1.5 million from the Regional Surface Transportation Program, $256,000 from the Local Transportation Fund, and $700,000 from Measure K countywide transit sales tax receipts.

No general fund money is being used to build the facility. In addition, state and federal pass through funds for  transit use will be employed to maintain and operate the station.