Budget sets aside $1.3M to relieve congestion in downtown Manteca

BY DENNIS WYATT

Photo contributed
Plans are moving forward to make Main Street in Manteca four lanes.

Driving Main Street through downtown Manteca could take less time as early as 2019.
That’s because the city is moving forward on two key projects: Converting Main Street from Yosemite Avenue to Alameda Street to accommodate two through lanes in each direction; and using federal funds to allow nimble adjustments to traffic signals to maximize vehicle flow using state-of-the-art technology to control signals throughout the city.

The 100 block of Main Street — Yosemite Avenue to Center Street — was split from the Main Street upgrade effort from Atherton Drive to Main Street that will start this fall at the direction of the City Council.

Instead of spending significant money to take out all of the bulb outs, replace, and reconfigure lanes and then having to come back in five or so years and change it again as the city grows, the council directed staff instead to combine the 100 block with Center Street to Alameda Street and convert the segment to four lanes.

The proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 has $300,000 set aside for the project. The 100 block of Main Street already had $1 million set aside in a previous budget.

Public Works Deputy Director Koussin Kim noted during a community workshop on upcoming projects along the Yosemite Avenue and Main Street corridors that environmental work on the Yosemite Avenue to Alameda Street segment should be underway by December. If all goes well, the work could get started in 2019.

Staff last year said it may require taking small segments of sidewalks in spots to make the corridor four lanes while accommodating bike lanes.

In May Kim indicated the city may instead detour the bike lane down neighboring streets to avoid the need to place bike lanes along Main Street through downtown. The most logical north-south street to do that on is on Grant Avenue between Yosemite and Alameda.

When completed the Main Street corridor would be four lanes from Lathrop Road to the 120 Bypass.

Parking would also be eliminated between Yosemite and Alameda along Main. The corridor can’t accommodate four lanes with parking left in place.

Concerns about the loss of parking came up during the workshop. Kim pointed out that it does not involve that many spaces.

In surveys done at various times of the day when the question first came up in 2002 to make the stretch of Main Street four lanes or keep it at two lanes, staff found that few spaces were used during the day due to the difficulty of getting in and out of traffic. Customers, as well as employees, of concerns along the three blocks made heavy use of off-street parking that was far from being filled.

The only time parking was filled on any segment between Yosemite and Alameda were during Friday or Saturday evening events at one or both of the FESM Halls in the 200 block of Main Street. It was noted previously that there was still ample on-street parking within a block of so at those times.

The city has $3.2 million in federal funds set aside to modernize traffic signal controllers throughout the city to allow for timing adjustments to maximize traffic flow. It is similar to systems now in place in many cities larger than 200,000.

When both the Main Street work from Yosemite to Alameda as well as the citywide traffic signal work is completed staff indicated that it will not only speed up traffic movements but it also should reduce motorists taking side streets through residential neighborhoods to try and bypass congestion.

The work on Main Street south from Yosemite to Atherton Drive is moving forward with similar work on Yosemite from Main Street to Cottage Avenue to reduce the costs that incur if the work was split into two projects. The work is targeted to start in September and take three months until everything is completed.

To avoid creating issues for merchants, the plan is to make finishing the areas adjacent to the Yosemite and Main first to avoid the peak shopping season that gets underway by mid-October.