DOTr: No letup in active transport push

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star
DOTr: No letup in active transport push
Bikers plying the EDSA southbound bike lane in Quezon City navigate through passing motorcycles and cars on April 24, 2024.
STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has committed to sustain its efforts to promote active transport, as it faces criticism for considering the removal of the bicycle lane along EDSA.

In a statement yesterday, the DOTr assured pedestrians and cyclists that the agency is committed to protect their welfare on the road through programs and projects on active transport.

“As DOTr seeks to solve the problem of traffic, it is designating and reclaiming road space to be able to provide safe infrastructure for more efficient and sustainable modes of transport, such as bike lanes and walkways,” the DOTr said.

Commuter and mobility groups are opposing a proposal made by the DOTr and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to get rid of the bike lane along EDSA. They warned that such a plan runs counter to the presidential directive to improve active transport facilities.

The DOTr and MMDA are evaluating whether to eliminate the bike lane in EDSA to make way for a motorcycle lane. Based on the MMDA’s monitoring, the bike lane on EDSA is used by around 1,500 cyclists daily.

The DOTr estimates that as many as 170,000 motorcycle riders go through EDSA on a daily basis and this volume is believed to contribute to the traffic congestion on Metro Manila’s busiest road.

The DOTr wants to set up an exclusive lane for motorcycles to limit the space that they can use in EDSA and free up the inner roads intended for private cars.

Further, the DOTr believes the establishment of a motorcycle lane can help reduce the economic toll of traffic gridlocks in Metro Manila, amounting to as much as P4.5 billion a day.

In spite of this, the agency vowed to prioritize programs and projects for pedestrians and cyclists by investing in active transport.

The DOTr also said it will comply with the presidential order to intensify the infrastructure buildup for bike lanes and expanded walkways.

For the year, the DOTr is expected to spend at least P1 billion on the delivery of active transport facilities. The budget will fund the construction of bike lanes and pedestrian pathways to support the push for alternative modes of mobility.

The DOTr has a dedicated team collaborating with local governments in the pursuit of active transport initiatives.

“The DOTr heeds the long-overlooked clamor of public and active transport commuters to have better commuting experience by pushing for expanded and safer walkways and bike lanes, most especially along national roads,” the DOTr said.

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