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Wider sidewalks for Yosemite
Itll bring stretch up to commercial standards
This section of sidewalk along East Yosemite Avenue west of Raylow Avenue will be widened from five feet to eight feet. - photo by HIME ROMERO

Pedestrians no longer have to walk on the edge of travel lanes to avoid large pools of water during the rainy season or cross rutted ground during dry weather while walking on the northern side of East Yosemite Avenue between Cottage Avenue and Powers Avenue.

That’s because the city last summer went ahead and installed five feet of sidewalk after AKF Development added a second westbound travel lane as required under their development agreement for Spreckels Park.

The five-foot wide sidewalk is residential standards but not the 8-foot wide standard for commercial areas along high traffic streets.

While it is an improvement, it makes it difficult at times for people to pass going in opposite directions without stepping into the street or onto lawns. Worse yet, bicyclists often use the sidewalk illegally to stay off the street since the right-of-way for the four-lane road and continuous middle turn lane accommodates only a small travel area near the curb for bicyclists. That creates a safety hazard especially given the fact that there are power poles that are within the sidewalk. Further complicating matters are the residential Toters put out on collection day can’t be placed in the street because of the narrow right-of-way and are instead place don the sidewalk blocking pedestrians.

The additional three-foot wide swath of cement to extend the sidewalk will eliminate those concerns. The other four feet of right-of-way will be used to place trees.

Assistant City Manager Karen McLaughlin said due to driveways and safety issues only nine trees will be planted on the north side of the street.

The Manteca City Council on Tuesday will go over purchase agreements for slivers of three parcels needed to provide the city with seven additional feet for the public right of way. The property will cost $32,870 based fair market appraisals. There also is up to $6,000 in escrow related costs involved.

The money to pay for the property acquisition – as well as adding three additional feet of sidewalk – will come from the bonus bucks or the fees that home builders pay up front for certainty of residential sewer allocations.

It fits into the council’s philosophy that growth should help provide improvements to the rest of the city. State law prohibits cities from doing that. How Manteca got around it was the development community’s offer of up to $12,000 per new home that the council could use as they saw fit.

Bonus bucks have picked up the tab for everything from the skate park, Tidewater traffic signals, and lights for the soccer fields at Woodward Park to completing the Union Road fire station. Millions have been used in the past to balance the city budget.

The City Council has undertaken a multiple year program to fill in gaps in sidewalks in the developed sections of Manteca.

The City Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.