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Manteca alleys: Retain & repair or eliminate?

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POSTED April 14, 2014 12:12 a.m.

Some new urban neighborhoods embrace alleys.

Such neighborhoods in Oakdale and Turlock have “upgraded alleys” paved with concrete instead of asphalt to reduce long-term maintenance. They have low-maintenance landscaping with utilities buried beneath requiring only sod to be lifted instead of pavement being ripped up to make repairs which in turns extends the life of street pavement. Such streets in new neighborhoods with alleys are narrower as garages are all located in the alley where garbage collection also takes place.

Don’t expect to see a new neighborhood with “upgraded alleys” anytime soon in Manteca.

In fact Manteca may soon prepare a citywide alley master plan to determine whether existing alleys should be retained and repaired or eliminated as part of an overall goal set by the council to maintain and improve city infrastructure.

Councilman John Harris sees it as a security issue. They can provide access to burglarize homes, serve as temporary encampments for homeless, and create hiding places for criminals being chased by police.

That’s why Harris — wherever it is possible — would like to see alleys phased out.

Others look at it from a cost issue.

Five years ago a staff report noted Manteca had 15,570 linear feet of unpaved alleys. The cost to pave them at the time was estimated at $730,000. That doesn’t include the cost of eventually having to resurface those alleys that are paved.

Presumably alleys without garage access could be abandoned by the city and the land revert to adjoining property owners.

Addressing alleys was part of a Manteca council workshop last month establishing budget goals for the upcoming coming fiscal year plus longer range capital improvement project.

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