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Growth spurs Tidewater extension
Bikeways will stretch from Del Webb to Woodward Park
Walkers on Friday enjoy the Tidewater Bikeway between Northgate Drive and Lathrop Road. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Manteca, in just a matter of years, will have the longest continuous dedicated urban bikeway in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

It also will be one of the few bikeways in California that connects most of a community’s major amenities. That is in addition to future segments that developers will pay for to tie neighborhoods to new employment centers and retail as they are built.

Atherton Homes - the developer of the third phase of Union Ranch involving 64 lots south of Golden Pond Drive - will foot the bill for a segment to connect the bikeway being built in that neighborhood with the Tidewater south of Lathrop Road. That will happen prior to the acceptance of improvements for the final development map.

That also includes funding for the installing of traffic signals for the Tidewater crossing of Lathrop Road just east of the Calvary Community Church.

When work is completed, residents will be able to travel on foot or bicycle from the extreme western end of Del Webb at Woodbridge at Airport Way all the way to Woodward Park at the Wellington Avenue entrance using a separate dedicated bikeway. Taking the bikeway would require between those two points would require just 12 street crossings including five protected by traffic signals and a sixth by the pavement imbedded crosswalk flashers across Woodward Avenue.

And - if Ripon is able to secure federal funding - it would be possible to go from the heart of that community to downtown Manteca and north to Del Webb without actually traveling along a street per se although there would be crossings involved.

The bikeway between Ripon and Manteca is proposed to the west of the Highway and Union Pacific Railroad tracks through what is envisioned as a green belt perhaps of almond trees. Manteca Parks and Recreation Director Mark Hall noted the developers of Austin Road Business Park in southeast Manteca are required to develop a bicycle and pedestrian system within the 1,050-acre project that the Ripon system would connect with.

Manteca laid the foundation for a bikeway system in the mid 1990s designed to loop the city and connect neighborhoods, with retail, employment centers, parks, some schools, and other amenities. The goal was two-fold: It was to provide recreation amenities plus to encourage an alternative to using cars. The transit station being built in downtown is also on the bikeway. Planners anticipate one day people bicycling to the transit center to catch inter-city buses or trains to reach their jobs.

Virtually all of the remaining Manteca system of separated bicycle paths will be paid for by developers as growth occurs.

For example, when retail develops north of the extension of Atherton Drive being built east of Main Street and the segment of that intersection already in west of Main Street, you will be able to take the bikeway system all the way from The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley to Del Webb.

The city also in the near future will be updating its bicycle master plan. It could provide for safe crossings of Highway 99 via the new Lathrop Road interchange breaking ground in the next two years as well as the future replacement interchange for Austin Road.