Are you up for a game of chicken, Manteca-style?
Then get in your car and take a drive by the traffic hazards that have emerged from the bowels of city hall over the years on the apparent advice of know-it-all consultants.
Ironically, some of the best places to engage in an in unnerving game of chicken is right in front of fast food joints that hawk chicken products.
Newbie Chick-fil-A is Manteca’s grandest achievement.
If you doubt that just take a gander down westbound Yosemite Avenue some Saturday afternoon as you approach the access street (Northwoods Avenue) to the fast food joint known in traffic consultant lingo as a chicken trap.
It ranks as the most absurd traffic mess created by the Manteca planning cartel in the history of The Family City.
Pandemic or not it is clear that the chicken coop squeezed into the site of the former Jimmy’s Restaurant that lived its last days as Chinese Super Buffet is woefully under sized in terms of parking.
It never ceases to amaze that the city gets developers of commercial property to write fat checks that Manteca then essentially turns over to their favorite traffic consulting folks who simply plug in numbers on a model and make recommendations without driving the streets of Manteca during peak periods at least once — if that — or bother to really understand what an applicant is proposing.
They may claim that Chick-fil-A is just a fast food restaurant. But given Manteca is at the epicenter of Fast Food Fantasyland it is highly doubtful Chick-fil-A is perceived by chicken fast food aficionados as simply “just another fast food joint.”
One would think the traffic consultant would have checked out other Chick-fil-A stores. That would, however, require some work instead of just toying with models on a computer.
So let’s take stock of what the City of Manteca planning folks have gifted us — the peons who have to drive the streets of Manteca — with Chick-fil-A.
Every Saturday since March, the right hand lane on westbound Yosemite is jammed or partially blocked with Chick-fil-A addicts waiting in a queue three or so blocks long as far to the east as Black Bear Diner to order and pick up fast food.
This forces the traffic on heavily traveled Yosemite to try to squeeze into one lane.
Then there is the issue of traffic backing up on the southbound Highway 99 off-ramp not to merge onto Yosemite Avenue with a right turn on a green light but to try and cut into the Chick-fil-A line.
This does three things. Occasionally an out-of-town sap gets stuck trying to turn right after exiting Highway 99 for six or seven green light cycles. It makes desperate Chick-fil-A fans on Yosemite Avenue block the off-ramp when they have a red light. It also makes those of us that have learned to maneuver through the mess make illegal right hand turns from the left turn lane from the off-ramp.
As an added bonus those who need to turn right down Northwoods to reach Grocery Outlet and other places besides Chick-fil-A have to squeeze between cars in the left turn pocket on Northwoods and those Chick-fil-A starved folks in vehicles lined up in the queue that do a hideous job of hugging the curb.
Farther down Yosemite Avenue you will find another version of the chicken game. It’s supposed to be a right turn only from Kentucky Fried Chicken just like it is across the street at the Chevron station. But given there is no raised median every once in a while someone will ignore the sign and turn across Yosemite giving others heart attacks. But that is the point of playing chicken, right?
The city’s traffic consultant that Manteca blindly follows even suggested the same right turn sign without a raised median to actually make sure the chicken patrons don’t turn left coming out of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers that got the OK to build between the bowling alley and Panera Bread.
The traffic consultants actually had the guts during a planning commission meeting to say drivers exiting can simply go to the intersection with Spreckels Avenue and make a U-turn. Isn’t that a hoot? Anyone who drives Yosemite Avenue knows you can’t make a legal U-turn there. In fact there are no legal U-turns anywhere on Yosemite Avenue west of the northbound off-ramp from Highway 99. Once couldn’t expect the city’s highly paid traffic consultant or whoever checks their work at city hall to actually drive the streets they are making future traffic assumptions about.
Civilized jurisdictions place raised medians of some sort along major heavily traveled thoroughfares to prevent endless left turn possibilities across traffic into and out of driveways.
It’s amazing how a city that is spending $23.7 million to bring California’s first diverging diamond with its cutting edge design that reduces collision points, drastically reduces the potential for potentially deadly T-bone accidents, and keeps traffic moving has yet to understand the safety ramifications of narrow concrete medians on the four-lane portions of Yosemite Avenue and North Main Street to eliminate dangerous left turns between intersections.
That is why if you know Ron LaFranchi, Eric Hayes, Paraminder Sahi, Leonard Smith, or Jeff Zellner you may want to thank them the next time you see them.
As members of the Manteca Planning Commission that are also growing tired of playing chicken, Manteca-style. They recommended eliminating those who will one day patronize their new 7-Eleven being built on the northeast corner of Louise Avenue and Main Street from being able to terrorize other motorists.
They want a median to block left turns in and out of the 7-Eleven driveway on Louise Avenue instead of relying on the city’s staff’s weak honor system approach that would have simply marked the exit with right turn only signs.
That would not stop left turns into the driveway nor prevent left turns out of the driveway.
Thanks goodness Manteca today has a planning commission that isn’t afraid to step up when the city not only fails to do its job to keep the streets of Manteca safe when processing new development but manages to make the same bonehead mistakes over and over again.
Although you’ve got to admit for creating a colossal mess the city reached new lows with Chick-fil-A.
And that would have been worse if Caltrans hadn’t objected to a driveway to access Chick-fil-A from Yosemite Avenue in its response to development plans the city circulated to other agencies for comments.
Manteca should be focused on accident prevention and improved traffic flow instead of allowing left turns at will that are needed to make sure playing chicken, Manteca style, can engage more players.