Is there really a new day at City Hall?
We are about to find out.
And the answer will be provided with how they handle an application to raze a two-story building recently used as a spa on the southwest corner of Commerce Avenue and Yosemite Avenue and replace it with a new-age McDonald’s.
The new fast food location is just across the street from In-n-Out Burger. It was ground zero in 2005 for everything that was wrong with Manteca when it came to being business friendly and protecting the public’s interest.
It took close to 18 months for the In-n-Out Burger to actually open. That’s because the review process at City Hall was so convoluted that the privately owned concern missed two target dates while plans moved through the approval steps at a pace that would make snails appear to move at the speed of light.
And to prove the city was equal opportunity when it came to ignoring the needs of the community as well as business they allowed In-n-Out to open without thinking through the dangers they were creating for Yosemite Avenue motorists.
The city did not make any requirement that left turns into In-n-Out’s parking lots northern driveway from westbound Yosemite Avenue be blocked. The result was a deadly game of dodge. At least six times motorists lost. T-bone accidents can easily create damages approaching $10,000 a pop. The city finally figured out that safety might be an issue and installed plastic bollards before permanent concrete curbing was put in place.
McDonald’s creates a similar problem on the western side of the Commerce and Yosemite intersection. If concrete curbing is not put in place, you will have traffic trying to turn across heavily traveled Yosemite Avenue trying to reach McDonald’s. That is in addition to eastbound Yosemite traffic trying to turn north onto Northwoods Avenue that is the northern leg of the Yosemite-Commerce intersection.
It will not harm McDonald’s business if their customers have to wait for a left turn at the signal and then access the parking lot from Commerce.
It certainly hasn’t hurt In-n-Out whose customers from westbound Yosemite have to make a U-turn at the signal to access the northern driveway
The access into McDonald’s would be slightly easier for traffic turning left onto Commerce and then turning right into the driveway.
It should be noted that In-n-Out Burger is by far the busiest fast food place in Manteca relying heavily on - you guessed it - customers who have to make a bit of an effort to get to their parking lot. They do it fairly safely and it doesn’t hurt In-n-Out Burger’s bottom line.
The road blocks Manteca has thrown up for business to try and hurdle in past years is almost legendary but so has the city’s pandering to business at times.
East Yosemite Avenue Burger King’s owners whined incessantly that a concrete barrier that Caltrans wanted between Highway 99 and Pestana Avenue to reduce left turn movements to enhance traffic safely and flow would kill off their business.
Guess what? Burger King still died with unrestricted left turn movements.
So the question now is can city staff approve McDonald’s in a timely manner and not do so at the expense of public safety?
It is what Ronald & Co. might call a big McTest.