MMDA mulls removing bicycle lane from EDSA

Mark Ernest Villeza - The Philippine Star
MMDA mulls removing bicycle lane from EDSA
In an interview with dzBB yesterday, acting MMDA Chairman Romando Artes said there is a proposal suggesting the complete removal of bicycles from EDSA.
Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is exploring the possibility of removing EDSA’s bicycle lane as part of a study the MMDA is conducting with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to consider an exclusive motorcycle lane along the highway.

In an interview with dzBB yesterday, acting MMDA Chairman Romando Artes said there is a proposal suggesting the complete removal of bicycles from EDSA.

“It is still being studied… considering that we (have) probably the only major highway in the world where there are bicycles,” Artes said in Filipino.

He highlighted concerns over the underutilization of the bicycle lane, with only 1,500 cyclists using it daily compared to 170,000 motorcycles going through EDSA per day.

The bicycle lanes along major roads in Metro Manila were designated during the COVID lockdowns in 2020 when public transportation was banned as part of health protocols to help stop the spread of the disease.

Commuters shifted to cycling as an alternative mode of travel.

Artes emphasized that the current bicycle lane configuration only occupies half a lane, leaving half unused.

He noted that there are proposals received by both the DOTR and MMDA to expand the bicycle lane and possibly allocate space for motorcycles.

However, Artes acknowledged concerns raised by bicycle advocates regarding the safety of shared lanes.

Private vehicles are allowed to pass through these lanes, although Artes pointed out that motorcycle riders tend to enter the bike lane despite the availability of unused space.

In 2023, the MMDA implemented a regulation prohibiting motorcycles from using bicycle lanes along EDSA, with violators fined P1,000.

EDSA currently has two exclusive lanes: a bicycle lane beside the sidewalk and the innermost lane for the use of city buses and authorized vehicles.

There is a non-exclusive motorcycle lane that is the fourth lane from the sidewalk that may also be used by drivers of vehicles with more than two wheels.

Artes emphasized that extensive discussions have taken place between the agencies, including intensive meetings before the traffic summit or town hall meeting in San Juan last April 10.

The exclusive bicycle lanes are currently implemented along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, with another lane for motorcycle riders and a yellow lane for public utility vehicles.

Meanwhile, when asked about the possibility of implementing drastic solutions to address traffic on EDSA before midyear, Artes said that President Marcos has instructed the MMDA to expedite solutions.

He mentioned recent meetings regarding the construction of bridges to redirect vehicles to alternative routes, highlighting the President’s directive to promptly implement policies.

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