Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
As Dennis Wyatt correctly pointed (“Consultant takes Manteca for as ride”, May 8 column) out the Manteca City consultant was paid thousands to study the Manteca Transit system. The study seemed flawed, not having seen the entire package. According to the consultant, Moore & Associates conducted on-board surveys, made ride checks, direct mail surveys and conducted four community workshops.
I was not aware of the workshops, didn’t receive a mailer and therefore I missed out on the survey as a whole. Fact is that I peruse the Bulletin every morning just to see if there is anything in the paper newsworthy about our City. I must have missed the announcements for the workshops. Moore and Associates could have planned one of their public workshops at a Planning Commission meeting. As was done by the San Joaquin County of Governments (SJCOG), on March 25 of this year, when they made a presentation of the 2014 Regional Transportation Plan in front of the Manteca Planning Commission. Public outreach didn’t seem to be an important part of this study.
A public transit report done right must cover among other things, issues like the assessment of local demographics; land-use, pedestrian hubs, locations of commercial and public facilities. Was there a notion to connect the local subdivisions and “outlaying areas” with each other and with commercial and public places? How many local residents were interviewed to discover their transportation needs? How many mailers were received and what were the concerns? What are the proposed strategic enhancements for the system?
As was cleverly done the focus of the report presented to the City Council, was not on the most important part of the study, namely the proposed increased “transit footprint”. Instead it was on the proposed revised naming of the system. Even Dennis Wyatt wrote his whole editorial of last Thursday on this item. Missing the point of what this study was about.
At this point of it is appropriate to provide the Manteca residents with a proposed transit footprint or bus route maps, instead of the three proposed names only. Hopefully, the revised transit footprint will have larger City coverage. To complete the study, Moore & associates must provide a final workshop with the results of their findings (proposed routes and proposed names for the transit system). A public workshop in front of the Planning Commission with appropriate advertisement by the Bulletin would be ideal. Too many public workshops are not advertised well enough!
The existing route map provides minimal transit coverage for Manteca. A public transportation system requires public input on the final product. Not as Staff wants to return at the next Council meeting and seek approval of the revised routes. This is not a routine business item.
Driving down Union Road, I finally discovered one bus stop sign between Louise and the railroad tracks. It is very small. It is the same size as the “No Stopping” signs posted on Union Road. If we want riders to use the City bus system we need to do a better job advertising the system! The routes and times for each bus stop should be on bus stop sign. Bus stop signs must be recognizable. When the new and improved routes are available they must accompany the monthly water and garbage mailer. Make it known that Manteca has a local transit system.
Public transportation is an important factor in creating sustainable communities as mentioned in the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) 2014, done by the San Joaquin County. As stated in the 2014 RTP/sustainable Communities strategies: “Never before have the crucial linkages between the economy, the regional transportation system and land use been as important as now”. The Manteca transportation system is not only part of the local transportation demand system but it is part of the county and state wide Transportation Demand System (TDM). Our local public transportation must not be treated as a stepchild. Manteca deserves a first class public transportation system. The citizens of Manteca must have a chance to study and comment on the routes before approval. Public input is a valuable commodity in any City.
Leonard A Smith
P.S. keep the existing name “Manteca Transit” it is better than any of the proposed three names.