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City succeeds in silencing at least one mans input
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McKinley Avenue will one day slash through people’s property where they live.

It also one day will be an expressway designated as a truck route.

We know this about McKinley Avenue because the general plan circulation update used as part of the blueprint for Manteca’s growth is going through the legal approval process.

Yet a city planner went out of his way to basically chase off at least one homeowner who could be impacted by making it clear at the start of the public hearing at Tuesday’s Manteca Planning Commission meeting that the gathering had nothing to do with the McKinley Avenue alignment and that the Manteca Bulletin advance story was wrong.


First of all, the Bulletin story made it clear that the documents that staff generated showed the proposed McKinley Avenue Expressway as a future truck route. The story never mentioned an exact alignment or indicated that the meeting was going to discuss exactly where it would go.

But more important the general alignment of McKinley Avenue is currently not part of the traffic circulation element but will be once it is adopted. And - equally important - was the identification of that future alignment where ever it may go as being a future truck route.

If a planner doesn’t think that has a real impact on someone who lives in the area then they are in the wrong business.

Residents in the area who were at two meetings conducted by city staff last year to discuss general alignments that were marked on maps that went through their residential properties brought up a concern that McKinley Avenue would be used as shortcut of the Highway 120 Bypass when it gets jammed with traffic and that it could potentially become a truck route.

The public works staff at the meetings said correctly that they were not planners or policy makers. They said they had no idea what would happen as they were essentially road designers. That was an honest answer.

Attendees were encouraged at those meetings to take advantage of every opportunity afforded to them to provide their input on McKinley Avenue.

Well, Tuesday night was one of them. McKinley Avenue isn’t only included in the traffic circulation update but it is arguably the major component given how it is expressway connecting a development of 10,800 homes with Highway 99 as well as the 120 Bypass.

Once the traffic circulation plan is updated it will be treated as an official city planning guide exactly as the state requirement mandates.

Once it is in that document the concept of a McKinley Avenue extension and even the truck route designation will get a life of its own. While no one Tuesday could speak to a specific alignment of McKinley Avenue, it was a proper time for them to go on record saying they were against any such roadway, period. As surprising as it may sound to planners who are hired to plan not building an expressway is a viable option.

Residents should use every opportunity to try and derail the truck route designation and force truck traffic from the Austin Road Business Park to use Highway 99 and not access the 120 Bypass via McKinley Avenue.

Killing the truck route designation for McKinley Avenue won’t impact land use in Austin Road Business Park but it would make their lives one heck of a lot more reasonable.

If you’ve ever lived near a freeway or a truck route you know what trucks sound like compared to cars.

All residents should have been encouraged to make their views on the idea of a McKinley Avenue expressway as well as it being designated as a truck route made known as part of the record on Tuesday. Instead, at least one individual was successfully discouraged from doing so by paid staff.

And we know where this will end up going. Years from now when the big battle comes over the expressway and it being a truck route, some exasperated city leader will ask opponents why you didn’t get involved from the start instead of waiting until the end of the process to object.

The idea of a public hearing is to hear from the public and not try to dissuade them from providing input.