Manteca leaders hinted they might resort to roundabouts and other traffic calming devices on Cottage Avenue and Crom Street after increasing speed limits on those streets to conform to state mandated rules involving issuing tickets using radar.
Council members Debby Moorhead and Steve DeBrum were on the losing end of a vote Tuesday night that certified higher speeds on 28 segments of streets to allow Manteca Police to continue using radar for speed enforcement. They blasted the state rules as being “wrong” and counter to efforts to make streets safer.
Both indicated they wanted to see the city come up with ways to slow down traffic on the two streets as well as Button Avenue.
Every seven years jurisdictions that use radar to enforce speed on city and county streets must do a traffic survey using radar to record the speed of all vehicles driving streets during a set period where radar is used. Essentially, speed is adjusted to what the 85th percentile of traffic is traveling.
“It seems if we have speeding we have to raise the speed limit,” said Councilman John Harris who said he reluctantly was supporting the new speeds. He added “people go too fast as it is.”
“We’re sending the wrong message,” DeBrum said of the increase in speeding.
More than one council member noted the irony in that it was speeding motorists surpassing the limit that essentially set the standard for a higher speed limit under California law. The rules were designed to avoid cities creating speed traps. Without radar, the only effective enforcement police would have with speeding is to pace vehicle traffic for a set amount of time that officials noted “is often too short to do in several blocks.”
Moorhead was particularly concerned about Crom. She noted it is used as a short cut between Airport Way and Louise Avenue. It has led to motorists regularly blowing through stop signs as well as driving too fast for the street that children use to walk to Stella Brockman School.
East Manteca resident Ed Fichtner implored the council to do something about Cottage Avenue. He pointed to:
• high speeds coming off the overpass.
• motorists turning right from Button Avenue onto Cottage without stopping.
• no sidewalks leading up to the overpass for pedestrians.
• narrow pavement that leaves no rooms for bicyclists.
Fichtner expressed fear that taking the speed limit from 35 mph to 40 mph on Cottage between Louise and Highway 99 would only encourage motorists to push 50 mph. He noted pedestrians’ chances of surviving being struck drop rapidly at speeds exceeding 30 mph.
Seven segments of streets had their current posted speed limits raised by 10 mph in order for tickets written by using radar to stand in court.
The road sections and the speed limits that will be at least 10 mph faster than they are now are:
• Winters Drive from Yosemite Avenue to Wawona
• Cottage Avenue from Louise Avenue to Highway 99
• Atherton Drive, Woodward to Van Ryn
• Atherton Drive, Van Ryn to Main
• Atherton Drive, Main to Union
• Atherton Drive, Sparrowhawk to Heartsong
Another 22 street segments had their speed increased by 5 mph. They are:
• Woodward Avenue, McKinley to S. Airport
• McKinley Avenue, 120 Bypass to Woodward
• Airport Way, Daisywood to Union Pacific Railroad
• Airport Way, Union Pacific Railroad to Crom
• Austin Road, 1,500 feet north of Yosemite to 1,350 feet south of Louise
• Main Street, Woodward to South City Limit
• Button Avenue, Cottage to Yosemite
• Louise Avenue, Garden Gate to Main
• Louise Avenue, Main to Union
• Main Street, Lathrop to Alameda
• Moffat Boulevard, Powers to Main
• Spreckels Avenue, Yosemite to Moffat
• Union Road, Lathrop to Louise
• Union Road, Louise to Center
• Crom Street, Union to Airport
• Daniels Street, Airport to west end
• Fishback Road, Yosemite to Wawona
• Daisywood Drive, Riverberry to Airport
• Main Street, Alameda to Wetmore
• North Street, Main to Elm
• Pestana Avenue, Louise to Yosemite
• Thomas Street, Winters to Fishback