Residents can get a look at what one downtown Modesto intersection could look like with what are called bulb outs, which extend the curb into the street.
The city has marked up the intersection at J and 11th streets with the outlines of bulb outs ahead of the City Council deciding whether to repave J Street and how the street should be configured. The council is tentatively scheduled to make a decision June 26. Staff has presented three options:
▪ Repave the street and keep it in the same configuration, with the same number of traffic lanes and parallel parking, while adding bulb outs at intersections (a council committee has recommended this option)
▪ Repave and restripe the street, reducing it to two lanes from Ninth to 16th streets, and add diagonal parking and the bulb outs
▪ Leave J alone and repave La Loma Avenue or Burney Street instead.
City spokesman Thomas Reeves said marking up the intersection helps council members visualize what it would look like with bulb outs and helps them in making a decision. But Modesto already has actual bulb outs just a block away at J and 10th streets.
“It’s not the same,” Reeves said, “even if it’s just a block away.”
The city has about $1.5 million in federal money to repave J, La Loma or Burney.
Advocates say reducing the number of traffic lanes and adding diagonal parking will turn J into a destination street, similar to what LIvermore has done with its downtown. But the city would need more money, say from grants or donations, to complete the conversion with trees and other amenities.
Opponents say changing J will cause traffic problems and hurt its businesses. They also say the two downtowns are not the same.