Vince Hernandez, who served 12 years on the City Council, used to employ “windshield tours” to give people an idea of the progress Manteca had been making and what needed to be done.
Perhaps someone on the current City Council might want to adopt such a strategy but instead of ferrying constituents around Manteca to help educate them about what the city is doing their passengers can be whoever at city hall can make the calls about making driving Manteca’s streets a bit saner and safer.
One drive could be devoted exclusively to traffic signal and lane alterations. Keep in mind that besides reducing drivers’ frustrations the following suggestions could also improve air quality as the city’s general plan astutely points out that freer flowing traffic reduces idling which reduces pollutants.
The first stop would be at the intersection of South Main Street with Industrial Park Drive/Mission Ridge Drive.
This intersection has a lot of issues but the ones that can be addressed with minimal effort are the east-west traffic flows. Thanks to both increased truck and vehicle traffic it is taking more and more drivers two light changes in order to turn from westbound Industrial Park Drive to southbound Main Street. Given the traffic sequence has left turns and thru traffic on the east-west moved tied together, it would be real easy to alter the physical signal for the right hand lane for a light that allows left turns as well as being able to go straight.
The same thing needs to be done for eastbound Mission Ridge Drive but for a different reason. There are two thru lanes across the intersection yet the city has two lanes turning left and just one going straight. What happens when most people in the right lane clear the intersection they start moving into the left lane as the lane ends in a right turn up ahead at Vanderbilt Circle. Occasionally someone in the middle lane that is supposed to turn left will go straight. Perhaps that is what the city intended but typically when a lane has an either or option where there are protected left turn lanes there will be a signal for that lane that has a standard green light along with a green arrow light.
Moffat Boulevard at Main Street is arguably the worst intersection for congestion you can set your watch to. It can take four to five light changes for drivers to make a left hand turn during the school year after Manteca High lets out in the afternoon. This intersection screams for both lanes being able to turn left. Yes there are cars that turn right on the red but through most of the day that is impossible to do due to the traffic on Main. Turning the outside lane from a right turn only to a left or right turn will significantly improve traffic movements on Moffat that will only get worse as the city grows and downtown ACE service starts.
Then there is the mess at Yosemite Avenue intersection with Cottage Avenue/Spreckels Avenue. The optimum times to view it are weekday afternoons although Saturdays and Sunday are getting fairly bad. The issue on this one is traffic backing up on Cottage Avenue often to Pine Street and sometimes closer to Cottage Avenue.
This intersection could be made somewhat more tolerable by either having a dedicated left turn lane and one that can go straight, left, and right or a left lane that can turn left and go straight with the second lane able to go straight or right.
But what really needs to be done since the city’s growth has taken what was a country lane that was pressed into duty as a collector street but is now functioning as a quasi-arterial is to invest a little time pondering solutions. There appears to be enough space for a northbound lane and three southbound lanes where the middle lane could either go straight or turn left. It may require spending a bit of money to acquire a foot or two and replace sidewalks but it is long overdue.
The other locale for a relatively simple fix would require working with Caltrans. This Sunday — for the third Sunday in a row — traffic in the early afternoon on the westbound off-ramp at Airport Way backed up to the 120 Bypass. The lion’s share of traffic is always turning right. Both lanes at the end of the ramp should be allowed to turn right onto Airport Way. This may require better coordination with the Daniels Street/Airport Way signal given it seems like 90 percent of the vehicles are trying to reach Costco, et al.
That said Deputy Director of Public Works Koosun Kim deserves praise for his ability to not just note shortcomings — especially related to pedestrian and bicycle safety — on city streets but to come up with solutions as well as being able to secure outside funding.
Examples are the high profile solid green bicycle lanes that are going in on Yosemite Avenue and Main Street as well as overhead pedestrian flashing lights in front of Manteca High along Yosemite at Garfield and Sherman avenues. Also on the list is the separated bicycle/pedestrian crossing going in across the 120 Bypass in connection with the diverging diamond interchange now under construction at Union Road and the freeway.
Kim is also working on a grant to get medians designed to be safe havens for pedestrians as well as bicycle lanes on North Main Street given how this is the deadliest segment of roadway in Manteca for pedestrians as well as not being too safe for bicyclists.
Truck parking is
a safety issue on
Trucks parking on top of intersections as well as crosswalks along Moffat Boulevard has become a problem in the last two years.
Even a high school student getting seriously hurt crossing Moffat a few years back hasn’t prompted the city to look at remedial steps along the corridor that on one side has neighborhoods, Manteca High and commercial and on the other has the Tidewater Bikeway that many in the area access by crossing Moffat.
The teen that got hit — as well as the driver that hit him — had their vision partially blocked by a truck parked along Moffat. The city when they built the transit station made sure the areas near entrances and exits to the transit center parking lot and bus loading area benefitted by placing restrictions on parking on lines of sights weren’t compromised. If the city can do that for drivers in cars why can’t do the same for pedestrians that aren’t wrapped in 4,000 pounds of steel and such?
In the past six months several independent truckers have taken to parking on Moffat just before Cowell Avenue. As of late they have been parking almost on top of the point where people cross Moffat to access the asphalt path the city put in place for pedestrians and bicyclists from the nearby neighborhood to access the Tidewater.
On Sunday one of the trucks was parked right on top of the intersection. A boy of perhaps 10 years old walking his dog had to look around the truck after he stepped into the street. Several vehicles were barreling down on him at speeds that seemed to be above the posted 45 mph.
This is an issue that has been pointed out to the city in the past by several residents in Powers Tract, several of whom like to say they are in Manteca’s forgotten neighborhood. I wouldn’t go that far but you’ve got to wonder why such a little fix hasn’t happened.
Trick or treat
before Labor Day
It’s not even mid-August and Costco is selling Halloween costumes while Dollar General is stocking its shelves with bags of trick or treat candy and Halloween items.
At least Dollar General — unlike Costco — also has some Thanksgiving/fall items out.
If Costco holds true to form in a matter of a few weeks you will be able to buy Christmas wrapping.