Tracy is the second most populated city in San Joaquin County, California, United States. The population was 82,922 at the 2010 census. Tracy is located inside a geographic triangle formed by Interstate 205 on the north side of the city, Interstate 5 to the east, and Interstate 580 to the southwest; this has given rise to Tracy’s motto, now recorded on the city’s website: “Think Inside the Triangle”.
Up until the 1860s the area that is now the city of Tracy was populated by the Yakuts tribe of Native Americans. Their lives revolved around subsistence from foods provided by the local rivers and creeks. The Yakuts were displaced by Spanish and later Mexican and American immigrants and ravaged by diseases.
The origins of Tracy are related to the mid-19th century construction of Central Pacific Railroad lines running from Sacramento through Stockton and to the San Francisco Bay Area. Tracy is part of the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area, an extension of the Bay Area. A number of small communities sprang up along these lines, including the one named for railroad director Lathrop J. Tracy. Incorporated in 1911, Tracy grew rapidly and prospered as an agricultural area even when railroad operations began to decline in the 1950s. Beginning in the 1980s, Tracy experienced a growth spurt as people migrated to the city looking for affordable alternatives to Bay Area home prices, in addition to a more tranquil lifestyle. A steady period of growth ensued, as many companies found Tracy an ideal location for their distribution facilities.
Located in the Greater Bay Area, Tracy sits near both fertile and (due to a region of hills west of Tracy) infertile agricultural lands. Tracy has a Mediterranean climate. Some of this land (in the east and mostly north of Tracy because of the moist Delta river system) has come under increasing development pressure as the San Francisco Bay Area’s vigorous population growth has spilled over into the Tracy area as well as other locations such as the new town of Mountain House (because of Tracy’s Measure A in 1990) near the Bay Area’s edge.
In an effort to reduce its impact on the environment, the city launched the Emerald Tracy Project in September 2009. City spokesman Matt Robinson said that if it succeeds, Tracy will be the second city after Riverside to satisfy the state’s goal for sustainable communities.
Three main school districts serve the city of Tracy. The largest and most recognized is the Tracy Unified School District. This school system incorporates many elementary and middle schools as well as six Tracy high schools: Tracy High School, Merrill F. West High School, Delta Charter High School, Millennium Charter High School, John C. Kimball High School, and Mountain House High School, which opened in 2014. However, Mountain House High School is only open to Mountain House residents. Tracy’s expelled students attend the Willow community day school, and the Tracy One Program, or Community One. The other two school districts are: Lammersville Joint Unified School District and Jefferson School District which incorporates the south side of Tracy and includes four schools: Jefferson Middle School, Tom Hawkins Elementary School, Monticello Elementary School and Anthony C. Traina School.
Tracy is served by several bus services, locally Tracer runs four lines that serve as circulators between major transit hubs, shopping, school, residential and downtown areas. San Joaquin Regional Transit District (SMART) runs two local routes that connect the city with other San Joaquin County communities and six commuter services that run to Dublin/Pleasanton BART station and job centers in the South Bay and Livermore. Naglee Park and Ride Lot by the West Valley Mall serves as a major commuter hub to BART and jobs in the South Bay. Greyhound, Tracer, and SMART all connect with taxis, bike stations, and parking at the Tracy Transit Center, a transit station built in 2010.
Amtrak Buses connect serve the city’s Amtrak Bus Station with six daily trips to the South Bay and two to San Francisco, all of which stop at BART and job centers in Livermore.
To meet the future transportation needs which will connect San Joaquin Valley with the Bay Area, there are two Transit Stations in Tracy. One is located downtown and is currently designated for bus service, but is being considered as a possible location for California High-Speed Rail.
South Tracy offers the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) service at Tracy (ACE station), which provides commuter rail transportation to the Bay Area and connects with VTA in San Jose, BART via shuttle in Dublin and Fremont, in addition to Amtrak train in Santa Clara and San Jose.
Interstate 205 passes along the north side of the city and connects the nearby Interstates 580 to the west and 5 on the east, with the three Interstates forming a triangle around much of the city. Business Loop 205 runs through the center of Tracy along 11th Street, formerly a portion of U.S. Highway 50. In addition, the northern terminus of State Highway 33 is located at South Bird Road and Interstate 5 southeast of Tracy.
Tracy is served by Tracy Municipal Airport, located south of the city. It serves general aviation; there is no scheduled airline service from the airport.
Tracy’s daily newspaper is the Tracy Press, a once-weekly newspaper owned since the 19th century by the Matthews family. Bilingual Weekly News covers Tracy bi-weekly in English and Spanish.
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