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Persistent effort to keep Powers pedestrians safe
Manteca Police plan targeted enforcement of speeders and those who roll through the stop signs at Powers Avenue and Marin Street. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Fred Millner knows inattentive drivers and speed are a deadly combination.

A number of years ago a pedestrian was killed crossing Powers Avenue at Marin Street just a few doors down from where he lives.

“We pushed for stop signs at Marin Street and Powers Avenue for years but it took someone getting killed before we got them,” Millner said.

Millner has made it a point since then to try to do whatever he can to make Powers Avenue as safe as possible. He lobbied city leaders to put in a three-way stop at Hutchings Street and Powers Avenue to provide a safe crossing for students from the Curran Grove neighborhood going to and from Lincoln School.

The city’s narrowing of travel lanes by placing bike lanes farther away from the curb that helped slow traffic as well was in response to Millner’s persistent concerns voiced about the safety of kids and families parking along Powers and then crossing the street to reach Lincoln Park or Lincoln Pool.

Now Millner has another concern on his radar and he’s made it the city’s as well. There is one particular driver who barely slows down for the four-way stop at Marin Street and Powers Avenue and blows through it almost every day.

This time around the city has identified it as a clear enforcement issue.

Interim Police Chief John Orcutt said Lt. Nick Obligacion - who oversees traffic - has already put the intersection on the list to target. Officers will log the time they spend enforcing traffic concerns at the intersection.

“Fred gave us a pretty narrow time frame of when this happens,” Orcutt said. “It should be fairly easy to catch up (with the driver) and issue them a citation.”

It also underscores a point law enforcement has made for years. On most streets, the speeders tend to be people who live within the immediate area.

Powers Avenue is a collector street. Once Spreckels Park developed and Industrial Park Drive was punched through to Moffat Boulevard, it developed favor with some as a short cut. The city addressed that by placing islands that narrowed the roadway at three intersections.

Long-range plans have Moffat at Powers on the list for a possible traffic signal.

Police credit neighborhood watchdogs like Millner with helping them target enforcement efforts throughout Manteca.

The goal of citations is not to collect revenue as most of it goes to the state and county. Rather it is to provide a financial sting that is designed to get people to break their habits and comply with traffic laws. Repeat citations not only pile up the money but they can impact auto insurance rates.