The county hosted the first open house for the Grant Line Road Corridor Study at Banta School, 22345 El Rancho Road, and hoped to hear how traffic on the main street through Banta affected everyday life.
“We’ve got houses fronting the road. How are people doing getting in and out of their driveways?” Michael Selling, deputy director of public works for the county, said. “We’ve got the school on the north side. How many kids are walking to and from school, crossing Grant Line Road?”
The county is studying traffic patterns through the small community east of Tracy and wants to alleviate truck and commuter driving through town. Tracy’s Northeast Industrial Complex runs along the eastern edge of the city, near Banta, and houses companies such as Best Buy, Crate & Barrel and Amazon.com Inc., which together employ thousands of people and ship goods from their facilities in large trucks every day.
“Now with the industrial complex really heating up and Amazon coming in, we said ‘We really need to take a look at this formally and start an alternatives analysis,’” Selling said.
Among the possibilities are widening the two-lane stretch of Grant Line Road to four lanes or adding turn lanes to keep traffic from coming to a halt.
The suggestion to widen the road through Banta drew criticism from several of the 33 residents who attended the hourlong meeting, including Eve Ler.
“For us that live in Banta, what everyone would like to see is for them to divert the traffic, the warehouse traffic, off of Grant Line,” he said. “I would want local traffic only on Grant Line. So you have to make it difficult for the commuters that are cutting through. I’ve seen it for years. I actually live on Grant Line, and in the morning they are passing over double yellows (lane dividers) left and right, doing 70-80 miles an hour frequently.”
Selling said that 7,300 vehicles travel along Grant Line Road each day. That number is projected rise to as high as 27,000 a day within 20 years.
“With all that industrial development, there’s a lot of truck traffic. Also a lot of folks, employees,” Selling said. “The corridor currently is Grant Line Road to get to I-5, whether you are going north or south. We’ve got to look what we might need to do to this corridor.”
Paul Silveira also lives on Grant Line Road and said he frequently has to jump off the shoulder to avoid getting hit by high-speed commuter and truck traffic when walking with his fiancé.
“Since Amazon came in, it’s out of control,” Silveira said. “It’s getting worse and worse every year.”
Silveira told county representatives that he wanted to see more California Highway Patrol officers or sheriff’s deputies patrol Banta. He offered to let them park in one of his two driveways to observe the traffic.
All the residents who spoke during the meeting told the county representatives in attendance that they wanted help to preserve Banta as it is. Some suggested adding traffic lights or other controls to make Grant Line Road less accessible and make 11th Street — which is already built with four lanes — a more attractive route to I-5.
Selling said the meeting was the first step to find a long-term solution for the Grant Line Road corridor. The county Public Works Department will use money from Traffic Impact Mitigation Fees — collected from developers building on unincorporated county land — to pay for the study.
“So we have funds right now to do this planning work,” but not enough to make changes to the road, Selling said. “We don’t even really know what we’re building yet, so we don’t know what the cost will be, but we’re pretty sure we don’t have enough money.”
Selling said he expected to develop some options by the end of the year and then present them to the community and get more input in early 2015.
• Contact Michael Ellis Langley at email@example.com or 830-4231.