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Belmonte eyes Quezon City as Philippines cycling capital

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star
Belmonte eyes Quezon City as Philippines cycling capital
Bike enthusiasts from various cycling groups participate in a morning fun ride from Marikina City to Masinag, Antipolo in celebration of World Bicycle Day on June 3, 2023.
Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Quezon City, the largest city in Metro Manila, has set out to become the cycling capital of the Philippines by expanding its bicycle lanes by more than 170 kilometers over the next 20 months.

In an interview with reporters yesterday, Mayor Joy Belmonte said she wants to turn the city into the Copenhagen of the Philippines, referring to the capital of Denmark popular for its cycling-friendly infrastructure.

Belmonte said the local government is working on expanding the bicycle lanes in Quezon City by 172 kilometers more.

She wants Quezon City to manage a bike lane network of 350 kilometers by the end of her second term in 2025.

To date, the city government maintains a total of 178 kilometers of cycling roads that serve at least 25,000 bikers daily.

Belmonte hoped to turn Quezon City into the cycling capital of the Philippines after she went to Copenhagen last year to study its environmental and transport policies.

She said urban planners of Copenhagen prioritized the convenience and safety of cyclists and pedestrians.

“That was what triggered for me the desire to make QC a cycling capital of the Philippines, because I think it can be done,” Belmonte said.

The mayor said she wants to prevent a repeat of the August incident when a motorist pointed a gun at a cyclist over a road dispute.

Belmonte said as much as possible, the Quezon City government wants to build exclusive lanes for cyclists to ensure their safety and security.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) yesterday led the groundbreaking for the expansion of bicycle lanes along Elliptical Road.

The DOTr will spend P171.4 million for the conversion of bike lanes in the area to Class 1, meaning cyclists will be given a separate road from motorists.

The department will also build stops for public utility vehicles along Elliptical Road and Commonwealth Avenue to minimize traffic congestion in these areas.

The agency hopes to complete the projects within the first quarter of 2024.

The DOTr seeks to put up 2,400 kilometers of bike lanes by the end of the Marcos administration in 2028 in line with efforts to promote active transport nationwide.

For next year, the agency is asking Congress to allocate P500 million for the establishment of active transport infrastructure, particularly bike lanes and pedestrian pathways.

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