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Connector will tie bike path segments together
Homeowners in Bianchi Ranch pay for upkeep of the Wellington Avenue bike path that connects the Tidewater and other city bike path segments to Woodward Park. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Property owners in Union Ranch East will one day pay for upkeep and landscaping along a stretch of the Tidewater Bikeway that will connect the segment on the east side of their neighborhood to Lathrop Road.

It is part of the improvements developers agreed to when the city approved the creation of the 497-lot neighborhood. And as such it will ultimately be included as part of annual landscape maintenance district (LMD) assessment fees.

The “connector” runs along the east side of the Calvary Community Church property on the old Tidewater Southern Railway right-of-way. It will connect the current northern terminus of the Tidewater at Lathrop Road with segments being developed inside the Union Ranch project that in turn will connect the bike segment that goes through Del Webb at Woodbridge. When the “connector” is in place, Del Webb and Union Ranch residents will be able to use bike paths to travel as far south as Woodward Park.

The connecting segment of the bike path isn’t required to be in place until the final phase of Union Ranch East is started. Developers are also responsible to help finance the installation of traffic signals for the bike path at Lathrop Road.

This isn’t first time a developer agreed to install bike paths outside of a subdivision’s boundaries that were in turn included in a LMD.

Tesoro Ranch bounded by Van Ryn Avenue (formerly Spreckels Road), Atherton Drive and Woodward Avenue covers the cost of the segment of bike path along Atherton Drive running from Woodward Avenue to Van Ryn. The homes are on the south side of Atherton Drive and have a landscaped corridor with sidewalks along that four-lane corridor. The bike path and its landscaping are on the north side.

There are less than four miles of separated bike path in Manteca that are not included in a LMD or a similar district for ongoing pavement and landscape maintenance. Those segments are the original 3.4-mile Tidewater that runs from Lathrop Road to Industrial Park Drive, a segment along Industrial Park Drive, a segment along Van Ryn Avenue north of the 120 Bypass and two segments of Atherton Drive flanking Airport Way. All of those bike paths are maintained by the city’s general fund.

Bike paths along Wellington Avenue plus those bordering Paseo Villas on Atherton Drive and Van Ryn Avenue are covered by LMDs. Bike paths through Del Webb that happen to be concrete are covered by a homeowners association. The Spreckels Avenue bike path is maintained by a private district composed of property owners in Spreckels Park. The Atherton Drive segment along the frontage of The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley is being maintained by property owner Poag & McEwen.

As future segments of the bike path are developed along Atherton Drive, the adjoining property owner will be required to provide a mechanism for their ongoing maintenance in regards to landscaping, pavement, and vandalism.

City Manager Karen McLaughlin noted the “connector” segment south of Union Ranch East likely will not have as intense landscaping as the bike path segments backing up to the Union Ranch houses.

McLaughlin also said staff will explore the possibility of having other development in the area yet to be approved such as a proposed apartment complex northeast of the Union and Lathrop roads possibly contribute to upkeep of the “connector” segment.

The original Tidewater is the backbone of a planned separated bike path system that one day may include more than 20 miles of pavement. It is designed provide a loop of the city - west of Highway 99 - to allow residents on foot or bicycles to access various points around Manteca without having to travel along streets although crossing them is required. The points include two community parks (Woodward and Northgate), the skate park, the library and Library Park, downtown, and various shopping venues. Ultimately, legs are proposed off the main route to provide access to the Big League Dreams sports complex and other amenities.