The real charm of River Islands at Lathrop may be the fact it is an island and it’s primarily homes.
At build out there will only be four ways on and off the island.
While that sounds like a logistical nightmare, it isn’t. That’s because its masterplan design calls for creating a community to live in even with plans for a research and development style business park. The retail will be limited to small neighborhood commercial and the town center. There won’t be any big boxes or chain-style stores, per se.
As such traffic will essentially be people coming and going to their homes. There won’t be an 11th Street like in Tracy, Manthey Road like in Lathrop proper, or a Main Street like in Manteca.
River Islands is within several miles of emerging retail in Lathrop as well as the 120 Bypass corridor in Manteca with the likes of Costco, Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Burlington Coat Factory and a slew of other concerns as well as big box retailers on the way. The conscious decision was made to keep major retail off the island and the accompanying traffic problems and avoiding other issues to lower the sound, stress and even specific crime issues.
By not mixing uses and not having through roads that effectively connect to other communities, Cambay Group is essentially creating a gigantic neighborhood divided into smaller neighborhoods. And while there are arterials and feeder or connector streets they are not designed to move traffic at great speeds but to be an appealing and safe place to walk and live along.
The road system has been designed so the last thing it would do is encourage anyone living in the Mossdale Landing section of Lathrop across the San Joaquin River from River Islands to use an envisioned future interchange on Interchange on Interstate 205 as an alternative to Interstate 5 to travel to and from jobs in Tracy and the Bay Area.
The planned 350-acre business park that could generate up to 16,800 jobs is planned exclusively for 5 million square feet of research and development, office headquarters and laboratory space. That means no truck traffic except for delivery trucks.
But even more important the business park — while accessible internally on surface streets for future workers that opt to live in River Islands — won’t send commute traffic down residential streets. That’s because two of those four access point for River Islands involves the Golden Valley Parkway that will cross the San Joaquin River and the Paradise Cut. The Golden Valley Parkway slices through the center of the 350-acre business park on the eastern side of the island. And while a resident could use the parkway to connect with streets accessing neighborhoods they are an ineffective way for non-River Islands residents to reach jobsites. Even at that, two of the three streets between the business park and the rest of River islands are “water crossings” with man-made lakes on either side. The third is on the edge of the water. That means water serves as a buffer to the business park which in turn serves as a buffer to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
A proposal to locate an Altamont Corridor Express train at the business park’s edge would allow future business park workers from the valley to train commute as well as for River Islands residents to commute to jobs off of the island.
Long story short, River Islands is designed — and developing to — create an extremely livable place with schools, parks, and other community amenities encircled by what will be a one-of-a-kind 18-mile greenbelt park loop of the island.
And it does it by making the river (in terms of passive activities such as walking and bicycling) accessible for everyone, residents and non-residents alike.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org