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Street, sidewalk gaps on the rise
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Pedestrians from new neighborhoods primarily children walking to and from school are forced to walk next to fast moving traffic on Union Road south of Woodward Avenue. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Nothing — as far as David Silveira is concerned — shows a complete disregard for pedestrian and bicyclist safety than Manteca allowing arterial and collector streets to be built in a hodgepodge manner.
The longtime resident at Union Road and Woodward Avenue in south Manteca told the City Council Tuesday that by allowing new homes to be built and leaving gaps in sidewalks and not widening segments of former country roads into standard city streets is an accident waiting to happen.
Along Union Road by his home — as an example — pedestrians from new homes built to the south have to walk precariously close to traffic moving at 45 mph while bicyclists are afforded no shoulder. Most of the pedestrians are students walking to and from nearby Veritas school. He noted near misses are on the rise.
Silveira and others voiced concern about safety during the council’s approval for Meritage Homes to build another 42 homes as part of Silva Estates on Union Road south of Woodward Avenue. Meritage Homes will contribute to the cost of overhead crosswalk warning flashers for a crossing on Woodward Avenue at Pagola Avenue later this year in  conjunction with a similar project on Woodward at Wellington Avenue. The city has put in place standard signs at Pagola Avenue that will have flashers. A crosswalk will be added as soon as the weather clears for several days in a bid to enhance the safety of students walking to and from Veritas School.
Union Road just south of Silveria’s property has been widened to city standards on the east side. But the remaining several hundred feet to the Woodward intersection hasn’t been widened.
Residents moving into new homes south of the 120 Bypass have been voicing growing concern with safety issues generated by how the area is development particularly along Woodward Avenue.
City policy is for road widening and sidewalks along major arterials such as Union Road and collector streets such as Woodward Avenue to be put in place by builders when they go to develop adjoining property.
That, however, has increased islands where key roads aren’t widened that could stay that way for year or even decades — such as on Louise Avenue east of North Main Street — as growth continues to add more and more vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
The Manteca City Council wants to change that.
The council has directed city staff to collapse the cost of addressing segments of key roads that haven’t been widened nor have a high likelihood of not being widened in the foreseeable future as growth takes place in an updated streets portion of the Public Facilities Implementation Plan fee assessed on new growth.
The city would use the fees to make full improvements in front of property owned by Silveira that hasn’t developed. Then if and when the property developers, the city will be reimbursed for the cost of sidewalks, streets, curbs and gutters. It is a mechanism that other cities have imposed to address such road and safety issues.
Mayor Steve DeBrum Tuesday asked that the timing of such improvements be discussed as part of the budget priorities council meeting taking place later this month.
Staff is making a list of existing street segments that haven’t been widened and sidewalks added as well as areas likely to create similar problems as growth occurs.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email