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Its about more than a 45-second inconvenience
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I found your analysis on January 19 regarding the spending of three million dollars to improve impacted traffic circulation in the downtown area a bit disconcerting to say the least.  I want to expand on that analysis, why spend three million dollars on a new municipal maintenance garage, the refuse and fire trucks can continue to be repaired under a tarp cover outside of the existing 80-year-old building.  

Or, perhaps, let’s spend only 3 million dollars to put some trees, fancy lights, and cobblestone sidewalks in downtown that will generate more customers for the downtown businesses.  On the other hand, let’s establish a local transit system, but force the patrons to stand about or to sit on the curb or in the adjacent landscape planter while waiting for the bus.

That is the same shortsighted thought process that has been utilized by our city officials for decades, and why Manteca as a community and our quality of life continues to lag behind neighboring cities.  Forcing motorists to take alternate routes or moving the traffic to adjoining neighborhoods is not a solution.  Without question, money is a major component of the solution; but I believe the alternative is worse for such problems do not go away, they only become bigger with time and cost considerably more to remedy in the future.  Unfortunately, your analysis has diminished the real problem to an inconsequential 45-second inconvenience.

There is a solution to the impacted traffic circulation on Main Street and Yosemite Avenue in the downtown area, and it can be accomplished with little or no additional right-of-way.  There have been previously commissioned studies on the shelf that have offered remedies, but for decades there has been no political will to proceed because of cost and special interests.  I would venture to guess that the costs have increased since those first studies.

As for the seemingly inconvenient 45 seconds, what is the relative cost to the motorist that is forced to wait two or three cycles of the traffic lights in order to pass through downtown, or that is forced to compete for space at the intersection?  I would speculate that the loss of those 45 seconds is worth far more than three million dollars to the motorists that must endure the stress everyday, the downtown merchants that continue to thirst for customers, the pedestrians that must tolerate the fumes of the stalled line of vehicles, the ambulances that must negotiate through the whole mess several times a day, or the adjacent neighborhoods that must endure the added traffic on their streets.

The residents of this community want solutions; there have been enough excuses and studies for too long.  Without a change in the culture and the realization of providing service to the community, the residents will continue to be inconvenienced and Manteca will continue to fall behind our neighbors.  
Benjamin Cantu
Jan. 20, 2010