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Ripon leaders advocates bike path to Manteca
Families make their way over the bike path bridge crossing in Ripon on the Stanislaus River. - photo by HIME ROMERO
RIPON – The possibility of a bike path linking Ripon and Manteca could come sooner rather than later.

Council on Tuesday approved 5-0 the list of City of Ripon projects for the San Joaquin Council of Government’s One Voice trip to Washington, D.C., in the coming months. The purpose here is to seek funding appropriation at the annual congressional session.

No discussion was necessary.

According to staff, the purpose for the One Voice “Regional Transportation Project,” as listed, is to fund the request to purchase the right-of-way for three miles of a Class 1 bikeway estimated at $2.5 million.

Each city or jurisdiction can submit two projects, including one for local improvements and the other for regional significance.

Councilman Chuck Winn, who is the COG vice chairman and soon-to-be chairman, believes the 10 miles of bike path, once completed, would be a great addition for Ripon, Manteca, Lathrop and Stanislaus County.

Council, in 2008, had initially looked at the bike path plans, submitting the project for the previous One Voice trip only to be denied.

The bike path would be developed in conjunction with the envisioned 1,037-acre Austin Road Business Park. Preliminary discussions would have it as part of a 100-foot-wide greenbelt swath between the railroad tracks and development to effectively create a green belt as well as provide a non-urbanized view while traveling the segment of Highway 99 between Manteca and Ripon.

It would ultimately connect with the Tidewater Bike Path in Manteca. In Ripon, bike lanes on surface streets would lead bicyclists to the Stanislaus River bridge crossing.

Under the “Local Priority Project,” elected officials are hoping to construct five miles of pipeline estimated at $3.5 million, connecting the City of Ripon water system to the South San Joaquin Irrigation District / Nick DeGroot Water Treatment Plant.

Like the bike path, this project was also on the list for last year’s One Voice trip but was not selected.

Plans call for the pipeline alignment to begin near the “five corners” area of Jack Tone Road and extend five miles to the intersection of River Road and Jack Tone Road.

Council hopes for better luck on the second go-around for both projects.