Pasig, San Juan top most 'bike-friendly' cities in NCR

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Pasig, San Juan top most 'bike-friendly' cities in NCR
In this photo released on June 2, 2020, cyclist group Bikers United Marshalls set up an improvised bicycle lane along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.
Bikers United Marshalls Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — The local governments of Pasig and San Juan came out on top as the National Capital Region's most bike-friendly cities, transport and sustainability advocates said in the Mobility Awards on Thursday. 

SM Mall of Asia and SM Marikina were also counted among the most bike-friendly commercial establishments in the metro, while Marikina City and Bonifacio High Street took silver medals in their respective categories. 

The Mobility Awards, launched by the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, MNL Moves, The Climate Reality Project Philippines, and 350 Pilipinas, saw its inaugural round focused on cycling in Metro Manila "in recognition of the 88 percent of households here and in the Greater Manila Area which do not own cars," the groups said in a statement, citing a statistic by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

“The 88 percent should be the priority, not the 12 percent who have at least one car. Local leaders with the private sector should promote active mobility, or walking and cycling, and improve public transport for the majority,” the organizations said in a joint statement.

READ: LGUs told to help make biking, walking safe for commuters

Over a thousand Filipinos chose to bike to work in June amid restrictions on public transportation, despite the lack of safe bike lanes along major roads.

As early as end-August, the interior, health, public works and transportation departments in a joint administrative order urged local governments to construct active transport infrastructures, such as protected biking lanes and walking paths and provide alternative modes of transportation. 

Under DILG Memorandum Circular 2020-027, all LGUs are ordered to remove obstructions in all provincial, city, municipal and barangay roads. Local chief executives were given under January 15 to comply with the program. 

READ: QC gov't pushes for protected bike lanes, active transport infrastructure

“This is just the beginning for Pasig. Through this, we hope to inspire and collaborate with others to build more sustainable and inclusive cities,” said Robert Anthony Siy, who heads the Pasig Transport Office and who accepted two Gold Awards, one in behalf of the city government for being a top Bike-Friendly City, and another for the Transport Office itself as a top Bike-Friendly Workplace.

“I’m very honored that San Juan has been chosen for this, and it gives me a lot of added inspiration to continue making San Juan bike-friendly,” said Mayor Francis Zamora who accepted the Gold Award in a recorded message. He mentioned their local government’s installation of dedicated bike lanes and new LED lights on sidewalks, and passing of bike safety ordinances. He also announced that a solar-powered bike stop is in the works in San Juan.

“I also bike every day. It’s part of my daily routine to join the police bike patrols, to go around the city, because you see your city in a new perspective when you ride a bike. It helps me see the needs of our constituents,” Zamora added.

'We still haven't moved on in public transport'

 In a statement later Thursday, Sen. Nancy Binay also slammed the transportation department for the continuing mass transportation woes amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Until now, the DOTr has fallen short on the plate of taking reasonable actions to make public transport system attractive to private car owners," Binay said. 

"Hong Kong and Japan, which heavily rely on mass transit, have already managed the risks of infection in public transport. But us, we still haven't moved on, we're still stuck in experimenting on different solutions on EDSA," she added. 

READ: Service contract scheme for PUVs may soon leave terminal

In an earlier phone call with Philstar.com, Mody Floranda, president of transport group Piston, reiterated the group's call for 100% resumption for traditional jeepney operations amid the transportation department's greenlighting of a service contracting scheme for public utility vehicles. 

"Why only [30,000] units? Our call is still for a 100% return for all traditional jeepneys...restrictions for COVID have already been loosened, we've already opened malls, restaurants, so to really uplift the economy they should also be opening our transportation," he said. 





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