Of the seven mandatory elements that will make up Manteca’s General Plan, those who came out to the third visioning workshop Thursday night at the Manteca Transit Center got the opportunity to voice their opinion about one of the most often discussed.
Circulation, which focuses on traffic patterns in and around Manteca, was the focus of group exercises to give planners an opportunity to look at areas of town that may not have required special attention 14 years ago when the last General Plan update was approved, but have become issues with the city’s subsequent growth since 2003.
The new general plan update is charged with providing a blueprint to grow Manteca from 75,000 residents today to a projected 125,700 in 2040.
And whether it was mapping out what routes would work best for public transit through the community or limiting certain specific types of traffic, nearly everybody who showed up had something to say about navigating the roadways of Manteca and how best to shape that experience with a massive population boom hovering on the horizon.
For Mary Meninga, a Manteca resident who lives off Lathrop Road, the meeting was the chance to express her concerns about the emerging possibility that her street will become a major thoroughfare not only for residents, but also trucks making their way from I-5 to Highway 99 – something she has long been against. Along with a Lathrop resident who is organizing an effort to defeat the city’s attempts to expand Lathrop Road to four-lanes, Meninga pulled no punches when it came to talking about some of roadblocks she has hit when trying to voice her opinion.
“This is something that they’ve known about for a long time, and every time I try and get information about it from Caltrans, I’m told that they can’t find what it is that I’m looking for,” Meninga said. “I’ve tried just about everything that I can so I thought that getting involved in this process will give us a better idea of what is to come when it comes to Lathrop Road, and possibly make some changes for the better.”
Not everybody however had a political axe to grind.
Jim DuClair, a member of the General Plan Advisory Committee, used a red marker when he joined up with others in attendance during a breakout group session to highlight all of Manteca’s arterial streets as viable routes for the city’s existing public transportation system.
Getting the opportunity to play a part in shaping the city’s future, DuClair said, wasn’t something that interested him the last time that this process was carried out, but given the massive changes that are coming to Manteca – especially south of the Highway 120 Bypass – it seemed like the right time to get involved.
“The way that the city is growing in leaps and bounds – It thought I would find out more about what is being planned and how it’s going to affect he community in the future,” said DuClair. “You have to open things like this up to the people of the community and not just the developers because we’re the ones that live here, and I think that they have done a good job of that by including as people as possible to find out what they feel needs to be taken into consideration when determining the future direction of the city.
“Having the goals are fine and all, but if they’re not implemented then they don’t really mean anything. Hopefully this sort of grassroots input process will show that the community is involved and wants to have a say.”
The first formal part of the update, the existing conditions report, will be ready to be viewed by the summer of this year. Those wishing to follow the progress, or read the documents as they become available, can do so by visiting manteca.generalplan.org.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.