Public urged to be patient amid traffic woes

Aurea Calica (The Philippine Star) - August 15, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang yesterday appealed to the public to be patient as motorists continued to experience heavy traffic in Metro Manila, especially during rush hour, due to various construction projects, including in areas leading to airports.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over radio dzRB that various measures could be taken to lessen the inconvenience to motorists such as providing time allowance when traveling.

On Friday, vehicles clogged and barely crawled along Andrews Avenue, Airport Road and Sucat Road – vital arteries leading to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s terminals 1,2,3 and 4.

Valte said they received a report that a big number of people failed to make it to their flights because of the ongoing construction works in the Villamor Air Base area.

She said airport authorities had been advising the public to consider the heavy traffic because of construction projects when planning their trips.

Valte said in order to improve the traffic situation, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and local government units would continue to deploy traffic enforcers.

She also expressed hope that the operators of South Luzon Expressway would deploy more toll collectors to ease slow moving traffic at the toll gates.

When President Aquino visited Japan in June, the Japanese government committed to help the country address the problem of traffic congestion.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency has come up with a detailed proposal to decongest the metropolis in the future by putting up major infrastructure projects.

The horrendous Friday traffic jam was blamed on the Skyway extension project. Construction is in full swing, so some portions of the roads are closed and only one lane is available for vehicles on a regular three-lane passage way.

It being a Friday and payday made things worse.

Traffic czar

Meanwhile, Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo yesterday urged President Aquino to intervene in solving the daily traffic gridlock along EDSA, the 26-kilometer major thoroughfare that cuts through the heart of Metro Manila.

Castelo, who chairs the House committee on Metro Manila development, suggested that the President name a traffic point man who would exercise plenary powers, a person who has his confidence who could be the only one responsible for solving or failing to solve the EDSA traffic jam problem.

He said the traffic czar should have the authority to summon all concerned government agencies to orchestrate, coordinate and implement their traffic improvement projects.

He said these agencies include the MMDA, Philippine National Police, local government units, Land Transportation Office (LTO) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

He said the traffic czar should also have the power to review and cancel franchises for public utility vehicles (PUV) plying EDSA to lessen their number.

The point man should be a person of integrity who can refuse lobbying by PUV operators, he added.

Castelo lamented that despite their much-publicized statements, the LTFRB and its enforcement arm, the LTO, have not been able to remove illegal buses from EDSA.

He said even LTFRB officials do not see eye-to-eye on the issuance of franchises, with one board member accusing another of issuing bus franchises without the necessary requirements.

“The traffic situation has become worse and it requires intervention from no less than the President. It cannot be solved by piecemeal measures. A much firmer, stronger hand and stricter implementation of traffic rules are required,” he said.

He noted a World Bank study showing that Metro Manila’s economy is losing $20 billion a year in economic opportunity cost due to the EDSA traffic gridlock.  – With Jess Diaz

             

ABIGAIL VALTE AIRPORT ROAD AND SUCAT ROAD ANDREWS AVENUE CASTELO JAPAN INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AGENCY LAND TRANSPORTATION FRANCHISING AND REGULATORY BOARD LAND TRANSPORTATION OFFICE METRO MANILA METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY NBSP TRAFFIC
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