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Bike path system expanding
Manteca pedals toward 98.5-mile bike route system
Ahrens Landscaping workers put in place the sprinkler system for landscaping along Van Ryn Drive and Atherton Drive on Thursday. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Another section of Manteca’s planned 20.7 miles of separated bicycle paths was put in place this week.

The leg runs along Atherton Drive east of Van Ryn Drive to a point just west of Tesoro Drive in southwest Manteca. It connects with a path already in place that parallels Atherton Drive to where it T-intersects into Woodward Avenue just west of Moffat Boulevard.
The separated bike path along with landscaping of that segment of Atherton Drive is being paid for by the developers of the 450-home Tesoro neighborhood that is now under construction.

Other segments in place include:

•The 3.4-mile Tidewater running from Lathrop Road to Moffat Boulevard through the heart of Manteca.

•The Spreckels Avenue spur.

•The segment passing through Del Webb at Woodbridge between Airport Way and Union Road.

•Short segments along Atherton Drive on either side of Airport Way.

•A section in front of The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley.

•A leg along Wellington Avenue between Woodward Avenue and Atherton Drive.

•A connector between the Tidewater and Atherton Drive along Van Ryn Drive and Industrial Park Drive.

When developers of Union Ranch east of Del Webb get to a future phase, they will put in place the missing segment between Union Road and Lathrop Road.

When that is in place you will be able to use separated bike path to go from the western edge of Del Webb at Airport Way all the way to Woodward Park over nearly six miles of separated bike path that would require crossing just 14 streets.

It is all part of Manteca’s goal of becoming the most bicycle friendly community in the Central Valley.

Although cities such as Davis where bicycles and college students go hand-in-hand have extensive bicycle systems, none have the ability of Manteca to access a large number of employment centers, neighborhoods and recreational facilities by separated bike paths. Part of that has to do with Manteca’s basic grid pattern growth that is geo-centric. But much of the credit goes to a decision by elected leaders in the early 1990s to purchase the abandoned Tidewater railway right-of-way that gave the city the unique ability to provide a separated bicycle path to connect neighborhoods with the established central downtown as well as the library, the Spreckels Park employment center and eventually the transit center planned for Moffat Boulevard and South Main Street.

Manteca’s separated bike paths also will provide a loop of the city which is also unusual.

The plan calls for a separated bike path with a continuous divider when the Louise Avenue overcrossing is widened in the future.

Though not included in the master plan, Manteca has discussed extending the Tidewater south to Austin Road where it would access a 100-foot wide farming greenbelt with a separated bicycle path on the edge to reach Ripon.

The adopted municipal bicycle plan, when fully implemented, will provide Manteca with 98.5 miles of bicycle routes including 20.7 miles of separated, landscaped bicycle routes such as found along Spreckels Avenue.

The additional 54.39 miles of bicycle routes outlined in the plan put together by Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants in 2005 was estimated that it will cost $21.1 million to complete. That includes 14.96 more miles of separated bike paths at $750,000 a mile as well as 33.72 miles of Class II bicycle lanes - which require 10-foot wider streets than normal to accommodate 5-foot minimum bicycle lanes in each direction - at $300,000 a mile.

Class III - which are bicycle lanes that share space with parked vehicles - will cost $5,000 a mile primarily for signs to add 5.71 miles to the system.

Almost all of that cost will be picked up by development as growth occurs.