Since Highway 255 (reputedly the shortest highway in California) was completed in 1971, Manila residents have had their community bisected by the narrow highway which routes large log trucks and commuter traffic through the middle of the small town at rates of over 55 mph.
There have been numerous accidents and some deaths as a result of the highway. The highway creates a noisy, unhealthy and dangerous environment for citizens of the small (pop. 1000) economically disadvantaged town.
Manila's inhabitants are generally below the poverty line. The town has a park and a community center on either side of the busy highway. Children must cross the highway in order to access recreational and social opportunities. There are no stores and the bus only stops about 4 times per day. Although it is less than 5 miles in either direction to get to city services, school and commerce, the only practical way is to go by car. It isn't safe for to travel the highway on bicycle or by foot because there is so much traffic, including many semi-trucks going at a high rate of speed.
The highway has very narrow shoulders which aren't safe for pedestrians or bicyclists. A planning grant was obtained to mitigate the environmental justice issues Manila is subject to. Routes and other solutions have been identified. Unfortunately, even after more than 30 years of community activism toward creating a safer, healthier, more walkable town, nothing has changed.
Read more about the highway and where it is located here:
SafePaths: our community wikispace