Image of City Manager Joe Lopez

City Manager's Blog

Oct 18

Groundbreaking Work on State Route 132

Posted on October 18, 2019 at 3:20 PM by Thomas Reeves

The City of Modesto - with Caltrans, Stanislaus County, and StanCOG - joined in an effort to increase traffic capacity and improve safety on a route that experiences significant impediments to both with the State Route 132 project.  Today marks the ground breaking ceremony for the project, which is over 60-years in the making.
132 Ground Breaking Group Shot 2

This project, the largest transportation project managed by the City, was designed under a very difficult schedule due to the number of large federal grants awarded—over $30 million.  The city is responsible for the design and construction of four (4) miles of new road northwest of downtown Modesto, which is expected to alleviate traffic congestion on the State Route 99 and the existing State Route 132/Maze Blvd.  This will ultimately offer safer routes for our goods to and from market, as well as those that commute to the bay area.

The existing State Route 132/Maze Blvd is infamously called “blood alley” due to its dangerous two-lane expressway with no median barrier to divide the lanes. The route passes through residential, commercial and agricultural areas with posted speeds ranging between 25 mph and 50 mph. Here, vehicles are more likely to be involved in a head on collision. With the creation of the new State Route 132 access-controlled roadway, vehicles going the same direction will be completely separated from those going the opposite direction. Furthermore, the addition of an extra lane going both directions provides more capacity of the roadway system allowing for traffic to move faster and safer.

The project will be constructed in three phases. The first phase will provide two lanes, divided by a center median, from SR-99 to Dakota Road. The second phase will provide a four-lane freeway/expressway to Dakota Road.  The third phase will expand the highway to Gates Road. 

In 1956, the California Highway Commission approved the realignment of State Route 132 West and purchased almost all the land required to build it between Highway 99 and Gates Road.

Identified by the StanCOG Policy Board as the region’s top priority project, the City of Modesto assumed responsibility for the design and construction of first phase of the SR-132 project.  Once the highway is constructed it is then handed over to the state. 

In the process of constructing this new highway we aim to be as transparent as possible. I would like to invite residents who have questions on the project planning to contact our office or visit our website to find the latest updates. The City of Modesto strives to maintain our focus on safety, and in doing so we believe this project will aid the lives of many by preventing vehicle accidents, pedestrian fatalities, and implementing overall traffic safety and efficiency. 

132 Ground Breaking Group Shot
There are so many people and groups who have been critical to this project, but allow me to at least call out our own staff, Vickey Dion and John Rawles of Community & Economic Development, who have led and worked faithfully on behalf of the City.  Thank you all for your hard work on this incredibly important project!  

Sep 26

A Brief Update on the City's Strategic Planning Process

Posted on September 26, 2019 at 2:33 PM by Thomas Reeves

The city of Modesto’s strategic plan is getting closer to completion! Since last year we have been working to gather information from citywide town hall meetings, focus groups and our community survey on community priorities for Council consideration.  I personally want to give a huge thanks to all who came out to the town hall meetings, participated in our focus groups and took the survey.  We really appreciate all your feedback!

The Strategic Plan and results of the community survey will be presented to the City Council at its regular meeting on October 8.

The plan will aid the city of Modesto - as an organization and community - in aligning our strategy for future decisions and resources.  Through the information-gathering stages we have found that our community engagement, diversity, and location are some of Modesto’s strengths. 

We also heard from the community that there is a need for more focus on an identity for Modesto, city beautification, an improved sense of safety, and addressing homelessness.  The themes we have identified from your feedback, including those above, are essential to the creation of a plan and budget that will lead Modesto in the right direction. 

Once established, the plan will be implemented as part of the annual budget cycle, which is a critical component of a robust, transparent discussion about funding the priorities of our community.

We are looking forward to the finalization of our strategic plan so we can start on the path toward addressing YOUR priorities. 

Sep 04

Housing on the Horizon

Posted on September 4, 2019 at 12:23 PM by Thomas Reeves

I am excited to share with you that new housing developments will be coming to Modesto! With the housing market on the rise, we are looking to increase the housing inventory in our city. 

We cannot start development on our own, so our goal is to help facilitate the growth of housing and encourage property owners and housing developers to begin building in our city. Our Community and Economic Development staff has already laid out some beautiful establishments that are ready to be presented to developers, and I am looking forward to their role in advancing our city in the future.

The first all-new establishment that is available for developers is called Tivoli [tiv-uh-lee]. Located in northeast Modesto, Tivoli will offer residential living for those with incomes ranging from low to high. The master planned community will consist of over 2,500 homes and apartments, and will be the biggest project we are offering to developers. As you can imagine, the Tivoli development will take time, but if the housing market continues to rise, it will get off the ground and running much sooner. 

Right now, the Vintage, located on Dale Road behind the Vintage Fair Mall and Village 1, located between Oakdale and Clause Road, are under construction; you can even go visit the model homes for the Vintage to get a sense of the style it offers! The Vintage has about 230 lots that can accommodate medium income families, and Village 1 is available for medium- to high-income families. 

As a related side note, the Federal Reserve announced recently it is cutting its interest rates, and this could mean savings for many workers. This cut is the first in over a decade, and could mean more savings for the average working person. So if you or someone you know is looking into new housing options, there are new reasons to consider making that investment.

Although Modesto can boast several new housing developments, your city leadership has not lost sight toward the goal of offering more affordable housing options.  As the housing market continues to rise, the more likely we are to have an interest in developers wanting to partner with the city on increasing its inventory of affordable housing. 

There also has been a growing interest within the community and among developers for housing downtown through Smart Growth principles, including live/work properties, and Transit-Oriented Development.  With the help of planning efforts, like the Downtown Master Plan currently underway, we will have a road-map for providing these and other unique housing options for those who call Modesto home.   

Stay tuned for more!