During the four years that this writer served on the Modesto City Council, many maps were examined and studied for planning purposes. Various urban configurations were presented for consideration.
Based on this writer’s experience, the residents of that community may have considerable misconceptions about the impacts that the construction of the 132 freeway would have on them.
When the 120 Freeway Manteca bypass was originally opened, the road cut through pristine farm land. There was no urban development along the corridor. Looking at the road today, urban development in the form of housing subdivisions and shopping centers exists along the entire length of the bypass.
Urbanization is also gradually spreading along Interstate 205 and look how freeway 99 has less and less visible farm land along it. Over time, the farm land disappears.
In Stanislaus County, urban developers get their way 99 percent of the time. If they want to build something, the project is usually approved. Logically, construction of the 132 freeway will eventually result in urbanization similar to what took place along the 120 freeway. Until the County establishes ultimate urban limit lines, all land is vulnerable to urbanization. The land will be taken incrementally until all the farm land is gone.
Alteration of Traffic Patterns
Whenever a new road is built, the people who use roads change the routes they take to get to their destination.
Some residents of Wood Colony have expressed the opinion that construction of the 132 freeway will reduce the amount of traffic on the roads passing through their community. Sadly, they are grievously mistaken.
The Dakota Expressway
On one map this writer saw, a four lane expressway was shown to connect the future 132 freeway with the 99 freeway and the future 219 freeway/expressway (along Kiernan Avenue). When the new 132 freeway is built, drivers from north Modesto and Salida will use Dakota Avenue to get to the future 132 Freeway/Dakota Avenue interchange. The traffic will become so heavy that a four lane expressway will be needed to cut through the middle of Wood Colony.
Construction of a Dakota expressway would undermine the viability of the Wood Colony community, discourage farming, and encourage urbanization. Take a drive down highway 219 and look at the broad swath of farm land that has been taken for the widened right of way. The waste of land is considered a disgrace by those who value food production.
Imagine a four lane high speed expressway being built next to Hart-Ransom school, located at Dakota and Shoemake. It happened to Stanislaus Elementary School along the 219 expressway.
132 Freeway Project Gaining Momentum
With the help of public misconceptions about the value and desirability of the project, the 132 Freeway project has reached critical mass. Even though highway 132 still does not carry enough traffic to justify construction of a freeway, the existence of funding to start work on it makes it 95 percent certain that it will happen.
At this point, stopping the project would be very difficult. The most effective way to deal with it is to make sure that it is properly built and that safeguards are created to protect farm land and Wood Colony BEFORE construction starts.