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Where will major roads go?
Planners also look at service levels, designs
Manteca’s future traffic circulation is the subject of Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin
Sharing the road may one day become Manteca’s planning mantra for future streets.

The city is exploring ways to update its circulation plan for future streets designed to serve growth that will reduce the almost exclusive emphasis on cars to accommodate bicycle lanes as well turnouts for buses along major streets.

At the same time, the levels of service - the time it takes to move traffic based on the 30 minutes of heaviest traffic in the morning and the 30 minutes of heaviest traffic in the afternoon, may be reduced downward. In doing so, the city may add 30 seconds or less to the time it takes to clear an intersection but it will also reduce the cost of construction and long-term maintenance by millions of dollars.

Such a plan would include placing roundabouts where possible instead of traffic signals that would again reduce costs and actually improve traffic flow.

The Planning Commission will discuss levels of service and street designs along with providing input for the environmental report being prepared in connection with Manteca’s circulation element as required by state law during Tuesday’s 7 p.m. meeting. The commission meets in the council chambers at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

The circulation study will focus on several new roads that have not been built and some that haven’t been publically discussed.

The proposed major roads in terms of general alignments include:
•A new eastern north-south street just under a mile east of Austin Road that would essentially extend Prescott Road south to a point south of Graves Road where it would swing to the east and then curve back westward to connect with the proposed new six-lane Austin Road interchange located roughly a mile south of the existing interchange.
•Extending Cottage Avenue north of Lathrop Road and then jogging it to the west so it aligns with Prescott Road. It would then continue to French Camp Road to eliminate the two sharp curves that now exist shortly before you reach the railroad tracks.
•Extending Lathrop Road west from where it now curves into Austin Road until it T-intersects with Louise Avenue.
•Rerouting Austin Road to an alignment that would take it north past Lathrop Road where it now curves, reroute it behind the New Haven School campus and other surrounding property and reconnect with the existing Lathrop Road alignment near the current T-intersection with Northland Road.
•Extending Lovelace Road west of Union Road and immediately start curving to the southeast to create a new interchange with Highway 99 about midway between French Camp Road and Lathrop Road and then continue southeast before turning eastward where it crosses Castle Road roughly midway between Lathrop Road and French Camp Road and continues until it T-intersects with Austin Road.
•Extending Roth Road west of Airport Way to intersect with Union Road and then swinging to the northeast to T-intersect with French Camp Road near where the railroad track swings to the north.
•An interchange at McKinley Avenue and the 120 Bypass.
•Swinging McKinley Avenue eastward into an alignment with the proposed Austin Road interchange.
•Extending Atherton Drive where it now T-intersects with Woodward Avenue just west of Moffat Boulevard until it meets the new McKinley Avenue alignment along Sedan Avenue at the northern curve.
•A connector street between Woodward Avenue and Austin Road on the south side of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
•Extending Pillsbury Road south to the new McKinley Avenue.
•Austin Road, Airport Way, and Union Road would all be developed as major streets north and south of the existing city limits as Manteca expands. Main Street would continue south.

McKinley alignment
will define Manteca’s
southern boundaries
Of all the roads, the one most likely to see movement in the next five to 10 years is McKinley Avenue. It could one day define the outer reaches of southwest Manteca and how that part of the community develops.

The north-south road may eventually swing eastward and align with the envisioned new Austin Road/Highway 99 interchange. Depending upon its exact alignment it may end up being a four-lane boulevard or a two-lane collector street.

Manteca’s ultimate southwest boundaries – as well as the preferred alignment of McKinley Avenue - may be determined by Mother Nature. Nine different floods since 1929 – with the latest occurring in 1997 – have repeatedly shown water can come almost as far north as Nile Garden School when levees fail on the Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers.

Changes in the Austin Road Business Park plan also will impact the ultimate McKinley Avenue alignment and width.

The 1,050-acre project is moving through the environmental review process and pre-annexation process. It could generate as much as 13,000 jobs primarily in distribution centers.

The proposed $150 million Austin Road interchange is key to complete build out of the business park. The interchange is expensive as it must also span the train tracks just like the Jack Tone Road interchange does plus a segment of Highway 99 must be shifted to accommodate it.

It is possible, however, for the project to start development and generate jobs to a certain point and still be served by the existing Austin Road interchange dating back to the 1950s.

The 1,050 acres abuts Woodward Avenue and Highway 99 to the north, an imaginary line if Highway 99 ran due south at the interchange with the 120 Bypass instead of angling off to the southeast, and future Ripon city limits on the south as well as the east.

It would have 3.5 million square feet of general commercial or about four times the amount of square footage as The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley. It would also have 8 million square feet of industrial, business park, and office use plus 3,400 homes. This is also where the proposed Manteca Convention & Visitors Bureau events center and 5,000-seat amphitheater is proposed.

The industrial uses would generate between 3,000 and 6,000 jobs while the retail portion could yield up to 7,000 jobs.

The homes could accommodate up to 10,200 residents are just under a seventh of the city’s current population.

A much smaller business park – often dubbed Tara Business Park – has been envisioned just south of the McKinley Avenue interchange. Due to a decision not to mix truck with neighborhood track it is not expected to include distribution centers.

The Austin Road interchange is farther along in the planning process than the McKinley Avenue proposal. As things stand now, the odds are stronger that the Austin Road interchange will be built.

What happens at McKinley Avenue depends upon the market and how development plans unfold.

There is no actual timetable for developing any segment of McKinley Avenue. Instead, the lull in development is being used to explore what options would be best for overall development.