Ten years ago Manteca’s elected leaders saw the need to create safe bike friendly routes across the 120 Bypass.
Now with the city getting ready to move forward with an update of the municipal bike and pedestrian plan as well as widening the Union Road overpass across the freeway the question is whether that promise included in the 2003 bike master plan will become a reality.
The city is currently seeking input from bicyclists on how best to improve two-wheel, people powered mobility around Manteca plus encourage more walking and less vehicle traffic. They are seeking comments via a survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/MantecaBikePedSurvey
The 2003 plan called for protected bike paths on the Main Street and Union Road bridges across the 120 Bypass. That typically means a concrete barrier is put in place between the outside travel lane and the bike lanes in both directions. The only bicycle and pedestrian friendly crossing of the 120 Bypass is the bike path that passes under the freeway adjacent to Van Ryn Avenue.
One of the bigger concerns expressed over the years involves pedestrians using both overpasses as there is not a sidewalk beyond the bridge deck on the approaches.
The plan also called for a separated bike path along the length of Atherton Drive. Segments are going in place as development occurs. That means developers and not the city pay for the improvements. At the same time Manteca is requiring all future bike paths to be part of landscape maintenance districts so ongoing maintenance is on the dime of surrounding property owners and not the city.
Other separated bike paths were proposed to extend to the Walthall Slough area near the San Joaquin River by swinging through the development now moving forward as the Trails at Manteca. That bike path would connect with the Atherton Drive system, near McKinley Avenue.
The city is also moving forward with creating an interchange where McKinley Avenue crosses under the 120 Bypass. The 2003 plan also called for a separated bike path under the freeway along McKinley and then turning north along the South San Joaquin Irrigation District drainage canal. Ultimately once it passes Lathrop Road it would turn east to connect with the Del Webb bike path. Plans are in the works now by a developer to take the Union Ranch segment that connects with the Del Webb path and to tie it to the current northern terminus of the Tidewater Bike Path at Lathrop Road.
The current plan also calls for a bike path to swing toward Ripon and into what is now planned as the 1,049-acre Austin Road Business Park. City leaders in Manteca and Ripon have long talked about a separated bike path running along the railroad tracks to connect the two cities to accommodate both recreational and commuter bicycling prompting a reference in the 2003 plan. It was envisioned at one point to involve a 100-foot wide greenbelt possibly planted in almonds so the two cities wouldn’t visually blend together from Highway 99 as growth occurs
Elected leaders over the past years have voiced interest in adding other segments to the bike path system that is currently designed to create a 12-mile loop of Manteca.
One such element was suggested several years ago by Manteca Mayor Willie Weatherford to access the Big League Dreams sports complex from the future McKinley Avenue widening project.