MMDA clears 2 'Mabuhay' lanes in Quezon City, Manila

Mike Frialde (Philstar.com) - November 26, 2015 - 12:44am

MANILA, Philippines - Agents of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s (MMDA) “Task Force Mabuhay” on Thursday conducted clearing operations in two “Mabuhay” lanes in Quezon City and Manila as part of its drive to clear alternate routes of obstructions and illegally parked vehicles for use by motorists during the Christmas season.

According to Ed Lara, co-head of the task force, the clearing operations managed to tow-away 12 illegally parked vehicles. The task force also issued traffic violation tickets to 48 motorists whose vehicles were not towed-away for lack of tow trucks.

“It was just unfortunate that all the tow trucks have been already deployed and we just issued them tickets,” said Lara.

“Mostly mga unattended vehicles, mga nakaparada sa sidewalk. Kasi naman, wala na kaming tow trucks kaya puro tickets na lang. Kung may mga tow trucks pa sana kami, dapat sana mas marami pa ang nahatak,” Lara added.

Lara said after they were issued their tickets, the erring motorists removed their vehicles from the scene.

Cleared by the MMDA between 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. were Mabuhay lane 2 (West Avenue to Dapitan Street) and Mabuhay lane 5 (E. Rodriguez Avenue to the South Superhighway).

According to Lara, although there was no violence in Thursday’s clearing operations, the clearing teams faced opposition from owners of vulcanizing and car repair shops who allow their customers to park on the street fronting their shops or on the sidewalks.

“Oo, may mga nahatak kami. May mga natiketan din kami sa Banawe, sa mga vulcanizing shops. Kapag may vulcanizing shop, hindi dahilan yan para pumarada sila sa Mabuhay lane. Dapat dun sila sa mga eskinita. Yung damaged na gulong, yun dapat ang dadalhin sa kanila,” he said.

Lara said most of the MMDA tow trucks were used in towing vehicles from Banawe Street.

“Sa Banawe pa lang, halos naubos nga ang tow trucks. Kaya sa route 5 (E. Rodriguez to South Superhighway), halos puro tickets na lang,” he said.

Lara reminded owners of business establishments that although it is illegal to make use of sidewalks as parking spaces for their customers, the MMDA would allow it for as long as there is enough space on the sidewalk to allow a wheelchair to pass.

At least man lang magtira sila ng daanan ng tao. Kahit wheelchair man lang magkasya,” he said.

Lara said the drive to clear the Mabuhay lanes would be intensified by the MMDA with assistance from the Police Highway Patrol Group (HPG) with the Christmas season inching closer and closer.

“Manageable pa rin pero ah marami dumarami yung sasakyan eh. Pero kasi ang utos po sa amin talagang tuloy-tuloy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lara called on the various local government units (LGUa) of Metro Manila to be more cooperative on the MMDA’s clearing drive.

Lara admitted that the MMDA is finding it hard to remove obstructions on the Mabuhay lanes that have been placed there with permission from the LGU and barangay officials.

In particular, Lara identified wakes being held on the Mabuhay lanes as one of the main obstacles to smooth traffic flow on the alternate lanes.

“Alam na nila yun (barangay officials) pero hindi sila kumikilos. Parang hindi nila kayang kumilos sa sarili nilang lugar,” he said.

Last Tuesday, the MMDA reported that total of 891 motorists have been issued traffic violation tickets since it started clearing the Mabuhay lanes across Metro Manila on November 2.

The MMDA added that 404 vehicles that were illegally parked on the Mabuhay lanes were also towed-away.

According to the MMDA, of the towed vehicles, 135 were sedans and 73 were trucks. The rest of the illegally parked vehicles include tricycles, taxis, utility vans, multicabs, jeeps and a bus.

The MMDA said the illegally parked vehicles were brought to the MMDA impounding station at the Ultra Complex in Pasig City.

The 17 Mabuhay lanes were set as alternative routes by the MMDA for motorists who would like to bypass heavy traffic on the 23.8-kilometer EDSA.

Covered by the Mabuhay lanes are the cities of Mandaluyong, San Juan, Makati, Manila and Quezon City. Also included in the list of Mabuhay lanes are secondary roads that lead to shopping destinations in Baclaran in Parañaque, Greenhills in San Juan, and Divisoria, and Carriedo in Manila.

The MMDA has finished its first round of clearing the Mabuhay lanes last week in preparation for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

MMDA chairman Emerson Carlos earlier urged LGUs to identify more streets as Mabuhay lanes for use during the Christmas season. – With Angelica Ballesteros

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