DOTr says EDSA will have bike lanes by early next week

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
DOTr says EDSA will have bike lanes by early next week
Armed with plastic sheets and raincoats, bike commuters brave the morning drizzle while crossing the EDSA-Aurora Boulevard intersection in Quezon City as they head for work on Thursday.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Construction on protected bike lanes along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue — Metro Manila's main highway — is expected to be completed in a matter of days to allow cyclists safe travel amid the general community quarantine, the Department of Transportation said Saturday.

The bike lanes will be narrower than suggested by mobility advocates but wider than what the Metro Manila Development Authority initially proposed.

Since before the implementation of the general community quarantine, lawmakers and commuters have been clamoring for protected bicycle lanes in the absence of adequate public transportation to ferry the thousands of commuters heading back to work. 

“The DOTr and MMDA have already commenced with the groundworks and mobilization of the bikelanes,” representatives of the department told reports in a Viber message on Saturday evening. 

“The MMDA has started lining EDSA and has estimated this to be finished in 3-5 days,” the department added. 

According to MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago, a minimum specification of 1.2 meters would be implemented for the bike lanes. 

The MMDA's initial proposal was a bike lane width of 1 meter, including the railing inside the lane. 

“The traffic engineering department has started its on-site inspection and measuring the length of EDSA in preparation for our bike lanes,” she said in Filipino in a taped statement to reporters. 

“After talks between the DOTr and the MMDA, it was agreed that 1.2 meters minimum in protected bike lanes would be allotted to cyclists on the right side of EDSA,” she added. 

The shift to protected bike lanes is one of the adjustments being considered as the government mulls a transition into a modified general community quarantine in the capital. 

Better mobility for frontliners, workers

In a statement on Wednesday, the Move as One transport coalition said that providing bicycles a greater share of the road space by means of a dedicated lane would significantly improve mobility for commuters along EDSA, including frontliners and essential workers who have resorted to cycling amid the shortage of public transportation.

The coalition also said that proposed bike lanes must be made wider and set up away from sidewalks to ensure the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.

“Because of the lack of public transportation, many Filipinos have now turned to cycling, but face greater risks of collisions with motor vehicles without protected bike lanes,” it said.

“A lane width of only one meter is dangerous for cyclists. The Netherlands Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic requires a bike lane width of 2 meters, while the Indonesian Public Works standards stipulate a minimum bike lane width of 1.5-1.75 meters,” it added. 

"Incorporating bicycles in the same road space can move 3-4 times more people than the same space used by cars. EDSA would achieve much higher people throughput," it said.

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