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120 Bypass: Mason- Dixon line for city?
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Councilman Vince Hernandez doesn’t want the 120 Bypass to turn into the Manteca equivalent of the Mason-Dixon Line.
It is why he isn’t supportive of a staff proposal before the City Council tonight not to include a separated bike path in the design for the upgraded Union Road overcrossing until such time non-city funding source might be identified. The council meets at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.
Hernandez favors directing the consultant that the city is being asked to hire for $1.6 million that a separated bike/pedestrian path is needed as part of the overpass upgrade. Such a path would have a physical barrier such as a concrete K-rail separating it from vehicles on the bridge that is being designed to carry six lanes of traffic.
Hernandez has a first-hand understanding of safety concerns that residents have regarding their children crossing the 120 Bypass given there are no sidewalks or enhanced protection for those bicycling or walking from Atherton Drive to cross the freeway on Union Road, Airport Way, or Main Street. The councilman noted with over 1,000 lots being prepared for new homes south of Woodward Avenue it will only increase traffic as well as pedestrians and bicyclists making a precious situation even more dangerous.
Hernandez said unless the city takes steps to make crossing the bypass safer Manteca runs the risk of ultimately being divided into two cities.
“You only get one shot to include a separated bike path,” Hernandez said. “And that is now when the overpass is being upgraded.”
While he favors seeking non-city funding sources, he wants to make it clear if they aren’t available that the work needs to be done when the overpass is put in place.
“If it’s not done now it is never going to happen,” Hernandez said.
He added the recent major injuries a teen suffered while crossing Moffat Boulevard underscores the need for the city to design road projects from the start that will enhance everyone’s safety — including pedestrians and bicyclists.
He also noted the city has made a big push to get people to use bicycles. Not including a separated bike path to connect to major shopping areas such ass near Wal-Mart and downtown for those living south of Woodward Avenue would essentially be ignoring municipal goals established by elected officials..
A separated bike path for Union Road is part of a traffic circulation plan and bicycle master plan that has been adopted and updated several times by previous councils.
Hernandez said the only safe way now for bicyclists and pedestrians to go between north and south Manteca as defined by the 120 Bypass is beneath the freeway along Van Ryn Avenue.
The safety of pedestrians and bicyclists trying to cross the 120 Bypass has been a concern of Woodward Park area residents since 2008 when the school district eliminated most of its in-town bus service.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email