People are speaking out
DEMAND AND SUPPLY - Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star) - October 18, 2019 - 12:00am

It has come to a point when people are taking time to write in exasperation over the traffic situation. Many are also offering suggestions on how to improve their situation.

The problem however is not the scarcity of ideas but the willingness of government agencies to be innovative and have a sense of urgency. Officials from the President to his special assistant and his transport secretary also have short memories by denying a promise to do something about our traffic nightmare.

All these have been noted by citizens in their e-mails to me. I want to share some of these e-mails, shortened to fit my space, to give those who want to express their thoughts an opportunity to do so.

Here is the e-mail from Jun Lugtu:

“I know how passionate you are on the traffic problem issue among others and thank you for your malasakit. Let me express my thoughts…

“My suggestion is to put an elevated walkway along EDSA. A walkway similar to that of Makati which is well lit, covered, no beggars or vendors. A walkway where pedestrians feel safe (install security cameras and walking patrols).

“Commuters will have the choice to walk and not bear the traffic.  It also has its own health benefits (easily 10,000 steps can be achieved, back and forth assuming you’re working in the business district.) It can be built in segments.

“I remember a story when coach Yeng Guiao alighted in Guadalupe from his car and walked all the way to Araneta Coliseum to catch his coaching job because vehicles weren’t moving. That’s a distance of less than eight km.  We have fun runs of three, five and 10k so walking that distance shouldn’t be looked at negatively or be in awe.

“I also have an officemate who decided to walk along EDSA from Ayala to Pasong Tamo but she felt scared because it was dark and ‘very public’ (meaning there are lots of tambays). Scooters probably may be allowed.

“I wish this idea would be considered while waiting for all the subway and other mass transport to come to life.”

I responded to Jun Lugtu saying that it is a feasible idea except the high pollution along EDSA may negatively impact our health. But it is an alternative to waiting hours to catch a bus or the MRT train specially for shorter distances.

Here is a comment of an exasperated Jimmy M in an e-group:

“What is wrong with this country is that Metro Manila contributes almost 40 percent to the GDP and collects 60 percent of all income taxes nationwide yet very little is spent in infrastructure in Metro Manila… so we all suffer from nightmarish traffic conditions. Most of our taxes are sent to the provinces where a big portion of the money is pocketed by politicians.

“People in Metro Manila should demand that a bigger portion of the taxes be spent in infrastructure in this region such as mass transport, roads, etc. After all, the taxes mostly come from the long suffering hard working people of Metro Manila who must get up at 3 a.m. just to get to work on time.

“We should pressure the government to come out with new legislation that would allot more money for new infrastructure in Metro Manila…  in other countries the people will be rioting in the streets if they face such traffic conditions.”

This one is from Edgar.

“Dear Mr. Chanco,

“I always enjoy reading your column.  I have a suggestion to make but please keep me anonymous.

“Implement odd/even scheme on EDSA with Friday alternating every other week for odd and even. This way, half of private vehicles will be off the street.

“Make bus lane a single lane only for the whole stretch of EDSA. MMDA officers must make sure buses move. These buses are the major cause of our traffic problem. They must be given two to three minutes to load and unload. The first four buses must move within the given time frame that’s enough for loading and unloading.

“Impose a rush hour fee from 4 to 7 p.m. for private cars using EDSA.”

  Here is an e-mail from Victorino Hingco complaining about the slow pace of construction of a main road in BGC and the response of DPWH.

“If one cannot do small projects, how much more with big projects. The Lawton Avenue Fort Bonifacio expansion is slower than snail paced. Not even a single kilometer has been completed after two years and the 5th Avenue to Bayani Road span has no critical ROW problem.

“Here is the reply of DPWH National Capital Region Construction Division chief Edwin M. Luzon:

“Please be informed that the project is on its full blast stage of construction on those workable areas. This is after the resolution of various underground and aerial obstructions encountered on the project site.

As a backgrounder, various government and private entities and their facilities are present at site such as Meralco, Manila Water, Megaworld, Bonifacion Heights Residences Condominium, Land Bank, National Mapping and Research Institute Authority, San Jose Builders, Philippine Army and Philippine Navy.

“Their removal/relocation of affected building structures and of the existing facilities had caused significant delays on project implementation. Rigorous negotiations are being conducted up until now.

“Despite the impediments, we were able to partially open the completed two lanes PPCP from Sta. 0+000 (near 5th Ave.) to Sta. 0+400 (near 1st lay by). This is to give way for the construction of the inner lane and the underground conduits for telecommunication facilities.

“As long as the site is workable, free from disturbance and that the weather condition is favorable, the contractor will continuously exert their utmost effort in completing the project as per approved revised construction schedule under close monitoring and supervision of this office, DPWH-NCR.”

You see… it isn’t just me. People are exasperated but trying to be positive. Unfortunately, unless the President makes good his pre-election promise to declare war on traffic, nothing will happen.

Boo Chanco’s e-mail address is bchanco@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @boochanco.

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