Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
More than a decade ago, city planners identified that Manteca’s growth southward and cumulative regional growth would severely impact local streets south of Woodward Avenue and on Highway 120. In response, long term planning was initiated and plans developed to provide for an expressway (Raymus Expressway) located a mile or so south of Woodward Avenue.
The expressway would relieve traffic pressure on Highway 120 by providing an alternate route between the McKinley Avenue/SR120 interchange and the Austin Road/Highway 99 interchange, and would provide a secondary arterial relief point for future residential traffic south of Woodward Avenue. After study, a long-range plan was developed, and the Council adopted the findings and the Plan.
Now, a decade or so later, the Council is considering shelving the Plan because perhaps “they know better.” It is distressing that “Plans” come and go at the whim because someone on Council “knows better” or special interests decide it is too cumbersome. This is not rocket science, it is common sense. Common sense tells us, as the community grows there will be more traffic and congestion; as such, there needs to be a long-range relief plan in place so new development can conform today in order to avoid major traffic issues 20 years into the future.
Two major traffic congestion related factors were altered over the years in this fashion. The city’s traffic level-of-service (LOS) indices were lowered by Council from “C” and “D” to “F”; affectively allowing new development to conform to lower standards. The other is the prolonged delay (by decades) of adopting the city’s Public Facilities Implementation Plan (PFIP) traffic element. The PFIP is the “plan” that projects needed traffic related improvements and serves as the revenue-generating source for those improvements. Needless to say, the standards were lowered and the PFIP delayed because they affect the developers’ profit margin. These two actions and the lack of majority “will” on the Council to collect what is actually required to offset traffic impacts have guaranteed a traffic congested future for this community.