More roundabouts could be in Manteca’s future as a strategy to reduce the cost of housing, cut vehicle air pollution, and contain future city costs.
Municipal staff is exploring the possibility of employing roundabouts where collector streets meet as new neighborhoods develop. Future collector streets that intersect would have future traffic levels similar to Powers Avenue at North Street and Wawona Street at Winters Drive. Under traffic standards in place today, such intersections if they were serving new subdivisions may be required to have traffic signals.
But instead of requiring a developer to spend $500,000 on traffic signals that would add hundreds of dollars to the cost of building a home, the city is exploring whether roundabouts would work.
The city has three roundabouts in place. Two are in the Tesoro neighborhood northeast of Van Ryn Road and Woodward Avenue. They basically eliminated stop signs and were designed to slow traffic down near the neighborhood park and future school site. The third is in Terra Bella and is an acre in size with a mini park in the middle. The cul-de-sac in that case was designed to discourage through traffic from Woodward Avenue to Atherton Drive when the extension of that east-west four-lane road is completed from the edge of Paseo Villas to South Main Street.
Roundabouts also reduce the amount of idling traffic which will help the city address goals in its general plan to meet San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District requirements.
They also would reduce future costs for city maintenance of traffic lights.
The city is reviewing all of its street standards to determine if adjustments are needed.
On the table are two proposals to drop planned four lane streets down to two lanes based on emerging development patterns. One would leave Woodward Avenue two lanes west of Main Street. The other would have part of the future extension of McKinley Avenue two lanes instead of four lanes.
In doing so, the city would incur some future cost savings for road maintenance while it would cut back on the cost per new home for major street improvements.
That doesn’t mean transportation improvement fees charged per new home will drop. It is actually expected to double as the city tries to come up with a way to pay for over $200 million in new interchange improvements along the Highway 120 Bypass and Highway 99. The savings from any changes in street standards will simply mean less of an increase in growth fee costs for transportation.