Plan paves way for future roads
by Jon Mendelson
Nov 28, 2012 | 5436 views | 8 8 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Traffic heads along Bryon Road past Lammers Road on Tuesday, Nov. 27. The intersection is scheduled to have an interchange for Interstate 205.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Traffic heads along Bryon Road past Lammers Road on Tuesday, Nov. 27. The intersection is scheduled to have an interchange for Interstate 205. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
A transportation master plan approved Monday, Nov. 26, by the City Council during a special meeting should make it easier for people to navigate a larger Tracy, according to the consultant who prepared the report for the city.

Frederik Venter, the vice president of transportation planning and public works for RBF Consulting, said the unanimous council vote paves the way for Tracy to be better connected when it grows.

The master plan describes the size and general location of roads that will be built during the next 23 years. It also identifies existing roads that must expand to handle heavier traffic because of anticipated residential and commercial development.

Venter said the master plan ensures that future growth will pay for future transportation infrastructure.

“The big thing is, this helps establish the framework for development that comes in,” Venter said following the meeting.

He added that the unified road plan establishes a general standard for street construction, eliminates patchwork planning and integrates different parts of the city, echoing what Development and Engineering Services Director Andrew Malik said during the meeting.

“(The master plan) looks primarily at the new section of town and how it connects with the old,” Malik told the council.

As part of that connectivity, the plan calls for streets to be laid in a grid pattern, instead of in the cul-de-sac pattern Venter said can be seen in Tracy neighborhoods built from the 1980s to the present.

Venter said a grid system between larger thoroughfares — similar to the layout of the neighborhood south of Grant Line Road and east of Tracy Boulevard — provides “better and shorter” travel routes. That, Venter said, encourages more bike and walking traffic and reduces air pollution.

“With a grid system, you have multiple points of entry,” he said.

Individual street lanes will be 11 feet wide instead of the traditional 12 feet, a design Venter said slows the speed of cars but allows enough room for trucks. He said the design has the added benefits of reducing how much pavement needs to be laid, minimizing maintenance costs and environmental impact and increasing the amount of land available for development.

The plan also calls for the larger streets to include bike paths, and all streets will have sidewalks, according to Venter.

Most of the new and expanded roads called for in the master plan, including a new Interstate 205-Lammers Road interchange, are on the western outskirts of the city, where commercial and residential growth are planned.

According to City Manager Leon Churchill, the backers of commercial developments, such as Cordes Ranch and Gateway, and large residential projects, such as Tracy Hills and Ellis, paid for the plan’s completion.

“All of the major developers are contributing to this effort,” he said after the meeting.

Churchill said the special meeting was necessary so the transportation master plan could be approved and projects that are in the works could move forward. He declined to say what those developments might be.

“There are some things we have to take care of by the end of the calendar year,” Churchill said.

• Contact Jon Mendelson at 830-4231 or

At a glance

WHAT: Tracy City Council special meeting

WHEN: 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26

WHERE: City Hall, 333 Civic Center Plaza

DETAILS: Mayor Brent Ives, Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel and councilmen Steve Abercrombie and Robert Rickman were present. Councilman Bob Elliott was absent.

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November 29, 2012
All I can say is I am happy I will never live in one of the new neighborhoods that is planned. I much prefer the good old cul-de-sac pattern. Outsiders flow around the neighborhood on the major roads surrounding it and only the people that actually live there, or are visiting someone, drive through. It cuts down on noise and on the random riff-raff coming through. The grid pattern is no doubt better for drivers but it sure stinks for residents. It absolutely kills quality of life. If you have kids they can play in the street in a cul-de-sac neighborhoods, not so in the grid pattern. Simply too dangerous. A resident in a grid pattern neighborhood also has to put up with more noise, cars racing down the street, etc.. I also suspect the entire lots in these master planned bureaucrat imagined utopias will be smaller than my front yard. Its best to leave neighborhood planning to developers rather than government workers. They at least have the homeowner (the customer) in mind.
December 03, 2012
Yes, Sneaky, my sentiment is similar to yours. I think a neighborhood ought to be a place where tranquility resides, away from the clamor of commerce, though I recognize the malleability of human consciousness and the proclivity of contemporary residents to prefer perpetual intrusion, distraction and commotion, under the guise of environmentalism. Many of us are invisible unless we are engaged in incessant media participation. There is nothing humanly innate about this current situation, nor is it strictly generational. The fact is, we, collectively, as a civilization, have embraced a cultural context which identifies “high-density” as progress. We, humans, are the creators of extraordinary paradoxes, thus, we willingly embrace the ridiculous. If you’re able to critically examine the “scripted” appeal of “reality” television programming, you will recognize within it and other cultural institutions a ubiquitous paradigm. This paradigm isn’t about being off the grid, but on it. This paradigm is an abstraction; it fosters mimetic living; it is about spectatorship; it is non-authentic; but it is still a brave world.
December 03, 2012

I dont know if it is because I am on my second glass of wine or if what you wrote is really that good but at the moment in awe of your response.

November 29, 2012
That intersection at Lammers and Byron is much nicer since the stop light went in (and timed well too!)How about doing something about the intersection a little northwest of that, at Byron and Grant Line FIRST? Please? It's way too dangerous and cannot handle any more traffic.
November 29, 2012
Hey, could we just have some of the streets repaved ... like Bessie Avenue north of the Hospital to Grant Line Road...??? you quit in the middle of a good job.
December 07, 2012
To me-here. What is me-here? You seem to be me- everywhere. You complain about everything that has to do with the City. The roads, the council etc. If you hate it so much why don't you move. I would get the hell out if I felt like you do... By By.
November 29, 2012
In English please?
November 29, 2012
I feel inclined to juxtapose these two sentences from this article:

“It also identifies existing roads that must expand to handle heavier traffic because of anticipated residential and commercial development.”

“That [grid system], Venter said, encourages more bike and walking traffic and reduces air pollution.”

There seems to be a high-density paradigm operating in the minds of those who advocate growth, yet I am wondering whether high-density growth (a monoculture, similar to C.A.F.O.s) is more destructive to the environment and our quality of life.

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