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Tidewater: Manteca’s ultimate 3.4-mile walk

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Tidewater: Manteca’s ultimate 3.4-mile walk

The Tidewater Bikeway on a foggy January morning just south of Lathrop Road.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED February 11, 2012 1:23 a.m.

You might want to take a more pedestrian approach to Manteca and walk.

Not only does Manteca have a unique 34-acre linear park – the 3.4-mile long Tidewater  Bikeway – that is ideal for walkers and joggers alike but the city is laid out in a grid pattern of major roads being a mile apart making it easy for you to gauge distances and progress as you get into walking more and more.

First a bit about the Tidewater that is accessible at numerous points throughout the city’s heart.

You’ll find the entire distance includes a crushed gravel path that most joggers prefer while the basic path is wide enough to accommodate bicyclists and walkers alike.

Bike path etiquette, by the way, calls for bicyclists passing pedestrians to politely speak out saying “on your left” when they pass. Bicyclists and pedestrians also should stay to the right.

You’ll find water fountains at strategic locations along the Tidewater – Main Street, Center Street, near the skate park, Louise Avenue and Northgate Drive. Many of those same locations also have benches and trash receptacles meaning it’s not that difficult for you to do your bit to keep the path clean.

Detractors like to say no one uses the Tidewater except for a handful of people. But if you vary your visits based on the time of day and day of the week, you’ll be surprised at the number of people who do use the bike path as a form of recreation as well as those who use it to travel from point A to point B on foot or bicycle.

Starting on the southern end, a growing number of people are walking the Spreckels Avenue spur that starts at Cottage Avenue so they can catch kids enjoying the Spreckels BMX Park. Once you hit the start of the bike path at Industrial Park Drive, you’ll noticed painted mile markers on the pavement that’ll help you keep track of your distance.

The downtown plaza at Yosemite Avenue offers you a chance to sit a spell and take in the charm of the 19th century light standards or enjoy the passing crowd.

Between Manteca Avenue (Library Park) and Center Street you’ll find an interpretative area that offers plenty of examples and hints on how to plant your garden at home  to maximize enjoyment of plants and trees in the Northern San Joaquin Valley climate. This is also the segment where – in a month or so – you’ll be able to see kids frolicking in the interactive water feature at Library Park.

Just beyond Center Street is the skate park where you can always catch the rolling acrobats at the skate park who range in age from perhaps 8 to their 20s.

Once you turn the bend past the skate park, you enter the most tranquil section of the path that goes behind homes and takes you ultimately to Lathrop Road. You will definitely want to put this on your list of “must walks” during mid-February to late March where bulbs and countless other plants start blooming and change the look of the path virtually every day.

A spur provides access to Northgate Park from the bike path to reach the picnic area and softball complex.

Enjoying Manteca on foot doesn’t require taking the Tidewater. Thanks to the grid pattern layout of mile by mile, you can go for a stroll or a brisk exercise jaunt and keep tabs on exactly how far you travel.

Just remember that north-south roads such as Union, Yosemite and Cottage are a mile apart while west-east venues Lathrop, Louise, Main and Woodward are a mile apart as well.

— Dennis Wyatt
managing editor

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