Manteca, by the time 2022, rolls around will have four truck parking yards that can handle more than 720 trucks. That is 720 more than in 2016.
That does not count truck parking spaces at various distribution centers.
Speaking of distribution centers, they are not an endangered species. If Manteca plays its cards right they will be multiplying like rabbits given they bring the largest number of sure and stable jobs in the new economy — logistics and trucking — that don’t require four years of college and going into hawk for $100,000.
Squeezed between Manteca and Lathrop is the Union Pacific Railroad intermodal yard — the pivotal link in the way the vast majority of goods are moved today and for the foreseeable future. It is where containers placed on rail flatbed cars take goods the greatest distance. Trucks do the work on the first and last segments of the journey from manufacturer to distributor.
Next door in Lathrop, entrepreneurs who didn’t have to read tea leaves are investing in a pair of truck parking yards with a combined 300 spaces. This is in addition to two truck stops with a third on its way.
And in case you haven’t noticed there are more places to buy semi-trucks along the Interstate 5 through Lathrop and just north of the city than there are Starbucks in Manteca, Lathrop, and Ripon combined.
That is on top of Lathrop’s healthy distribution center sector being pumped up with a splattering of million-square-foot buildings going up near Wayfair on the 120 Bypass corridor.
Trucks are not only here to stay but as a Bachman Turner Overdrive standard from 1974 astutely points out, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
It is against that backdrop Manteca has taken its cue from the three wise monkeys — see no evil, hear no evil or speak no evil — when it comes to problems trucks create.
Before we go on, let’s be absolutely 100 percent clear about trucks. We need trucks. They move virtually everything we consume or need in both raw and finished form. They provide solid, good paying jobs. And truckers are overwhelmingly much better drivers than the motorists who zip around them, tailgate them, or cut them off changing lanes.
That doesn’t mean truckers that don’t follow the rules as most of their colleagues do should not face consequences. Nor does it mean a city should give truckers carte blanche to park where they please.
Given all of the obvious and what is coming down the line you’ve got to start wondering whether the City of Manteca is borderline clueless when it comes to impacts trucking issues have on the quality of life in Manteca.
It is clear Council members like Gary Singh have their eye in the proverbial ball given their efforts to push for a separate truck movement corridor to move current and future truck traffic off of Airport Way as the western side of the city grows as a major hub of distribution.
But the little stuff that makes a difference in how a city looks and its livability are falling through the cracks.
First there is the citywide truck route study that is starting to make the 99 Year War seem like a quick affair. At the rate Manteca is going, by the time it is completed and implemented every truck rolling down the streets of Manteca will be powered by electric batteries.
But the real annoying thing that the city doesn’t do is keep on top of the tendency of some truck operators to park essentially wherever they please.
Yes, the city is great at responding once they have been goaded repeatedly by frustrated residents to the point it catches the attention of a council member.
The best example was when trucks — and people selling cars — were parking on both sides of Airport Way between the 120 Bypass and Daniels Street.
The city repeatedly did nothing telling citizens to was not illegal to park there until someone at the Manteca Police Department used Google Earth to look at the location and noticed when the images were taken there were no parking signs on poles along to stretch of roadway. They then drove out there and noticed the signs were removed.
Within days no parking signs were back up, tickets issued, and the problem solved.
The city has numerous instances where safety and aesthetics are compromised severely by trucks parking where they never parked before. There needs to be a mechanism — or straight out city effort — so such sites are reviewed, a determination made if truck parking should be allowed or if some height or distance limitations are needed near pedestrian crossings and intersections, and then the city actually enforcing municipal rules instead of forcing residents to repeatedly beg them to do their job.
Go to Tracy and see whether dozens of trucks are parked near freeway interchanges, left overnight on residents streets, or if trailers are left unattached to truck cabs on city streets.
More than a few Manteca residents in the last year have been serenaded at night by refrigerated trailers with the coolers left running parking just feet from their homes.
Moffat Boulevard to the east of Powers Avenue is an example of how the city allows the use of a public street as a truck parking yard.
On Friday, there were six trucks complete with tractor and trailer parked there. Another three trailers minus the cab were left there as well along the sidewalk.
At least no one was working on their truck as they do from time to time.
But as usual, they were parked in a manner that made crossing Moffat on foot to reach the Tidewater Bikeway where the city placed a connecting asphalt strip at the T-intersection with Cowell Avenue dicey thanks to trucks on top of the crossing blocking the view. At least the city putting in place a bike lane allows you to take a step toward the travel lane to poke your head out without almost getting clipped by a car.
Councilman and retired fire captain Dave Breitenbucher who lives about a block away might want to see how his neighbors have to cross the street there including 12-year-olds on bicycles. It might not do any good since it seems to be a badge of honor these days with some at city hall to dismiss his observations as noted by the fact the nearby fire hydrant two months ago that he suggested the city paint red in front of has been blocked by illegal truck parking in at least two dozen occasions since then.
Manteca needs to be proactive. They need to look at problem areas, assess them, and take stops accordingly. They need at least once a week to have law enforcement in some targeted manner address truck parking issues.
Acting on complaints is not onlyy passing the buck but it is rarely effective as by the time police get around to addressing them due to more pressing matters, the offending truck is gone.
Manteca needs to be truck friendly. Not only are our lives dependent on trucks for a large part but so is our economy.
That, however, doesn’t mean, trucks should be allowed to overrun the city.
And the blame for that happening isn’t on the truckers but for this city allowing it to happen.
The opinions are of Dennis Wyatt and not necessarily of the Bulletin or 209 Multimedia.