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MMDA backpedals on pop-up bike lanes

Marc Jayson Cayabyab - The Philippine Star
MMDA backpedals on pop-up bike lanes
A traffic enforcer guides cyclists using a bicycle lane on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City yesterday. The Metro Manila Development Authority, government agencies and various cycling organizations are conducting a three-day road sharing exercise in the city to introduce bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation as part of the new normal.
Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines  — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has backpedalled on its earlier position against pop-up bike lanes, expressing support for a road sharing exercise along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City yesterday.

The MMDA accompanied cyclist group Bikers United Marshalls in the activity yesterday by setting up and securing the improvised bike lane.

The two groups appeared to have patched up their differences on June 3 – which happened to be World Bicycle Day – after MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago had warned the group that they could be fined for setting up an improvised bike lane along Commonwealth Avenue, known as the “killer highway.”

“We understand their frustration and we share their sentiment for a protected bike lane. But an improvised bike lane without coordination is not the solution,” said Pialago, who at the time took issue with the group’s improvised traffic cones made of plastic bottles.

But in an interview with reporters yesterday during the road sharing activity, Pialago said the agency’s earlier encounter with the volunteer group was only a “misunderstanding.”

“We had a misunderstanding because the priority of the MMDA is for the bikers’ safety. But as long as this activity is well-coordinated, there won’t be any problem,” Pialago said.
The road sharing activity started yesterday and will end on Monday, June 29.

The road sharing extends from Commonwealth Avenue in Don Enrique Heights, to Elliptical Road, to East Avenue and to Edsa corner P. Tuazon Boulevard.

The bikers’ group volunteer member Geane Agato yesterday said that at least the group need not worry about being scolded or fined by MMDA enforcers.

“This is our first taste of success. At least we now have temporary bike lanes with the aim for more permanent ones. At least now, we are successful in working together with those in authority,” Agato told The STAR.

The marshals group had been doing volunteer work securing bikers along Commonwealth for a month now, or since Metro Manila was placed under general community quarantine.

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