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Mayor: Put East Louise sidewalk in place

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POSTED August 22, 2009 3:13 a.m.
The loss of much of Manteca Unified’s home-to-school busing has shifted attention back to the city’s ambitious program launched three years ago to address four miles of developed streets that lack sidewalks.

Since then, Moffat Boulevard now has sidewalks as does East Yosemite Avenue between Cottage Avenue and Powers Avenue. Several smaller segments of streets also now have sidewalks as well.

There is now more than three miles of streets still without sidewalks.

The city, though, may have a different reality today than they did in 2006.

There are now 1,765 more students walking to school today than last May due to busing cutbacks that saved the district $300,000 toward $31 million in cuts they needed to make.

One area where more kids are walking is along East Louise Avenue east of Cottage Avenue.

It is a missing segment that Mayor Willie Weatherford would like staff to look into extending curbs, gutters and sidewalks. There are gaps on both sides of the street. One on the north side between the new convenience store and gas station and the Diamond Oaks neighborhoods and the other on the south side between the church and the Marsh Creek neighborhood. Once either side is in place, there would be sidewalks available along Louise Avenue from the eastern city limits to Airport Way save one small gap along the approach to the Highway 99 overcrossing.

The mayor recalls money being set aside as part of a development agreement to help defray some of the cost of widening and installing curbs, gutters and sidewalks just east of Cottage Avenue.

 The work on Moffat Boulevard was paid for primarily from redevelopment agency funds while the Yosemite Avenue sidewalk project was done with bonus bucks collected from developers for residential sewer allocation certainty.

Back in 2006 there was 12,000 linear feet of street with curb, gutter, and sidewalk improvements. Another 8,820 linear feet had curbs and gutters but no sidewalks.

The lack of sidewalks as well as curbs and gutters doesn’t include “missing links” along undeveloped properties.

The city has only one protected crossing of the Highway 120 Bypass from the South Manteca neighborhoods. That crossing is along Van Ryn Avenue along as an extension of the Tidewater Bikeway.

Residents off and on over the years have raised concerns about their children walking along Main Street, Union Road, and Airport Way to cross the Highway 120 Bypass. Long-range plans call for sidewalks and/or protected bike lanes using concrete barriers across future bridge widening projects.

Citizen complaints regarding pedestrian safety along streets crossing the 120 Bypass has been centered on the lack of sidewalks and narrow road ways with high speed traffic.

Residents in the neighborhoods straddling Airport Way south of the Highway 102 Bypass have no way for their children to walk to school without going along a mile-length of  narrow Woodward Avenue to reach Veritas School. There are no sidewalks, no paved shoulders, and no street lights making it a precarious way to walk that only get worse during fog season.

The city has put in place a Manteca Transit bus route to serve the area through at least mid-October.
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