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CH reviews Ban-Tal road-sharing scheme

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu City government is now reviewing the road-sharing scheme along the Banilad-Talamban (Ban-Tal) corridor, which is part of the 23-kilometer route of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit project.

City Administrator Paul Nigel Villarete, who is also an urban planner, said he was tasked by Mayor Tomas Osmeña to review and revisit the Ban-Tal route’s technical conditions, including the road-right-of-way, roadway width, capacity, ridership, and modal split, among others.

“I will draft a communication to the DOTr (Department of Transportation) for a preferred implementation methodology and timeline that would give the least disruption to traffic flow,” Villarete told THE FREEMAN.

The mayor is not in favor of the Ban-Tal road-sharing scheme as he wants dedicated lanes for the BRT route instead.

“I don’t like the shared system. Let the people decide. I think it’s good enough that we have dedicated lanes up to certain point and there’s no need for sharing,” he said.

Villarete said he could write a letter to DOTr to request for the dedicated lanes along Ban-Tal.

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“If ever there will be adjustments, it will only be for that section, not for the other sections.  Timeline of the BRT will remain as is,” he said, adding that the possible modifications will not affect the timeline of the project.

Lawyer Rafael Christopher Yap, BRT Project Implementation Unit (PIU) head, said he will also relay to DOTr the mayor’s concerns on road-sharing concerns.

Barug Team Rama-allied Councilors Joel Garganera, James Anthony Cuenco, and Raymond Alvin Garcia also shared the mayor’s stand on road-sharing.

“Between Talamban and Ayala on the unsegregated section, the modeling assumes that jeepneys continue to operate alongside BRT vehicles, hence shows the potential for interchange at all stops along this section,” reads a portion of the BRT feasibility study presented by Cuenco before the City Council last Tuesday.

Garcia said the review on the road-sharing is a welcome development.

“Now he (Osmeña) sees the logic nganong naa’y opposition sa BRT. It’s so difficult man gud kay usahay atong mayor is very close-minded, very narrow-minded. But I’m very happy nga karon open siya, naminaw siya because that will really be a very big problem kanang Ayala to Talamban,” Garcia said.

Garganera, for his part, said the Ban-Tal area is already congested with private and public vehicles, stressing that more vehicles will only worsen the traffic situation in the area.

Cuenco also said the City Budget Office should also include in the next budget the timed traffic light operating system as detailed in the BRT study.

He also said the Transportation Office should secure and implement a new system with operation center.

He said the City Council has requested the executive department to purchase 60 to 80 motorcycle units that are complete with head-worn microphones built into the helmets and attached to radios for traffic policing.

“What concerns me more is not what transport system we should use. What we need to do is address road congestion,” he said, adding that traffic enforcers must undergo rigid training on traffic rules and regulations.

Yap said the BRT-PIU targets to start construction for the first phase by second or third quarter next year and to  complete by fourth quarter of 2019 or early 2020.

The BRT is expected to be fully operational by 2021.

Once in place, the BRT buses will traverse the city’s major thoroughfares, such as N. Bacalso Avenue, South Road Properties, Osmeña Boulevard, N. Escario Street, and Governor Cuenco Avenue. (FREEMAN)

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