MMDA blames ‘erratic weather’ for ‘underutilized’ EDSA bike lane

Ghio Ong - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) yesterday cited erratic weather conditions in Metro Manila in explaining the government’s plan to remove the “underutilized” bicycle lane along EDSA.

“I think the weather is a big factor. The heat is too much, and the rest of the year it’s rainy,” acting MMDA Chairman Romando Artes said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum yesterday.

“You can’t go to work soaked or smelling of sweat. This is the reality,” he added. “Not all offices have facilities where people who ride bicycles can take a bath or change.”

Artes previously said the government is studying the possibility of either removing the exclusive bicycle lane or making it a “shared” lane for cyclists and motorcycle riders.

He said only around 1,500 cyclists ply EDSA as compared to the average of 170,000 motorcycles traversing one of Metro Manila’s major thoroughfares.

Artes maintained that the MMDA, along with other government agencies, is studying the proposals on the fate of the EDSA bike lane on a “case-to-case basis.”

Meanwhile, Artes turned down the suggestion of a lawmaker to include more vehicles allowed to enter the exclusive EDSA bus lane.

He was asked for comment about a proposal by Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera to include UV Express vans and cargo trucks carrying perishable goods among the vehicles authorized to use the lane.

Artes said the EDSA bus lane was established to move commuters faster and encourage others to take public transport.

He said allowing more authorized vehicles in the lane would clog up the busway and slow down bus trips.

While the decision to add more authorized vehicles in the EDSA bus lane lies with the Department of Transportation, Artes said he prefers maintain the status quo.       

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