Sidewalks have been getting a lot of studying in Manteca in recent years but not a lot of repairs save for the occasional grinding of uplifted concrete after someone trips and/or complains to the city.
If anything they are getting worse as the firm the city has allowed to bury fiber optic has taken out chunks of concrete sidewalks along Yosemite Avenue, Moffat Boulevard, and along other major thoroughfares and backfilled the gaps they created with asphalt that is not simply uneven but in some cases is more than an inch lower than adjoining sidewalks or has ridges that create tripping hazards.
Manteca by the end of a year will have spent more than $430,000 on studies related to sidewalks. It includes $258,058 awarded in 2019 for Fehr & Peers to put together a comprehensive Non-Motorized Transportation Plan to figure out where curb, gutter, and sidewalks are in need of repair as well as other deficiencies when it comes to getting around the city on foot or using non-motorized transportation such as bicycles. That is on top of $125,000 contract awarded to assess tree damage to sidewalks that came three years after a consultant was hired for $65,000 to literally walk all of Manteca and inventory where there were buckled sidewalks, inadequate or dangerous slopes and driveways and intersections as well as other impediments for the handicapped to get around Manteca in wheelchairs.
You can go online Wednesday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. to view a presentation and a group discussion that is part of the $258,058 Fehr & Peers study to see what the latest plan being cobbled together. To view the virtual open house you need to register online at bit.ly/walkbikemanteca. You can also provide your input via an online map about areas you believe the city needs to address by going to bit.ly/atpmanteca through June 12.
Billed as the City of Manteca’s Active Transportation Plan the stated goal is to improve walking and biking in Manteca. The virtual workshop will provide an update on that plan, share a list of proposed pedestrian and bicycle improvements, and allow your input and the ability to ask questions.
Besides curb, gutter, and sidewalk that is need of repair Fehr & Peers was hired to determine:
*where there are gaps in sidewalks that need to be finished such as on Cottage Avenue between Pine Street and Yosemite Avenue.
*where sidewalk ramps are not complying with the American with Disabilities Act.
*insufficient “crossing facilities such as where high profile sidewalks are needed or further enhancements such as warning flashers for pedestrians.
*street lighting improvements such as areas lacking it or — as several council members have pointed out — where there are heavily traveled areas such as near Manteca High on Yosemite Avenue where the light level is inadequate given heavy foot traffic.
When completed it will be the third study the city has conducted tied into sidewalks and will have spent nearly $500,000 without actually doing any physical work.
Tree study regarding
sidewalks cost $125,00
In December of 2018 the council authorized spending $125,000 to inventory street trees in a bid to comply with the American with Disabilities Act.
That came on the heels of a nearly three year endeavor by a consultant to inspect all the sidewalks in the city and assessing them for ADA compliance as well as safety issues.
The information being gleaned is supposed to allow the city to develop a plan and prioritize work that needs to be done. Federal law requires the plan to give a priority to walkways serving government buildings and facilities, bus stops and other transportation services, places of public accommodation, and business districts, followed by walkways serving residential areas.
Once the plan is developed, the city then will need to identify funding to start work on improving sidewalks.
Manteca’s sidewalk maintenance efforts took a major blow in 2008 when more than half of the streets division’s 16 positions were eliminated during budget cuts. That included four workers who were dedicated to addressing sidewalk, curb and gutter issues.
Manteca has lost essentially 12 years of work when it comes to tackling sidewalk safety.
The lack of a dedicated concrete crew in the streets divisions has forced Manteca in recent years to use the remaining street workers when they have the time to address the most egregious sidewalk issues in high traffic areas where trees have severely buckled the sidewalks at that location requiring some trees to be removed and sidewalk replaced.
The city currently due to manpower and funding issues is reduced primarily to grinding down the edges of uplifted segments of sidewalks or using asphalt to create a mini-ramp. Such work is driven in a large point by residents who point out sidewalk safety concerns using the government outreach app or accessing it via the City of Manteca’s website.
What the first sidewalk
Data gathered on sidewalks to find deficiencies related to the latest ADA rules included:
*the width of sidewalks.
*the grade of slopes where driveways cross sidewalks.
*the grade of slopes for the transition from sidewalk to street at intersection and where there are appropriate improvements in place for the blind where it is required.
*sidewalks with cracks or where concrete has been uplifted by trees that need addressing.
*missing sidewalks as well as where there is no curb and gutter but development has occurred.
Staff in December of 2018 noted getting a clear understanding of tree issues is crucial for developing a plan of attack. Tree roots affect sidewalks, roadways and curb ramps, making sidewalk travel in urban areas dangerous, difficult and in some cases impossible for people who use wheelchairs, scooters, and other mobility aids. Properly installed and maintained curb ramps allow people with mobility impairments to gain access to the sidewalks and to pass through center islands in streets.
When streets and roads are newly built or altered, they must have ramps wherever there are curbs or other barriers to enter from a pedestrian walkway. Likewise, when new sidewalks or walkways are built or altered, they must contain curb ramps or slopes wherever they intersect with streets or roads. Resurfacing a street or sidewalk is considered an alteration for these purposes.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org