Fix – fix – fix
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - September 11, 2019 - 12:00am

While driving at a crawl past the elevated U-turn structure on C5 southbound last Monday morning, I noticed a large crack or break on its corner wall. I quickly scanned the rest of the structure and I saw what was more than a hairline crack toward the middle portion of the wall as well. I don’t know if these resulted from cars or trucks that may have clipped or bumped the wall or from mild earthquakes or simple wear and tear due to the constant vibration on the ground and overloaded trucks using the U-turn slot like I saw that morning. But that made me ask myself: Do we now have a lethal U-turn that could fall on people?

Funny enough last Monday was also the morning that saw the return of the PNP-Highway Patrol on EDSA and one news report mentioned how the HPG depending on the volume of traffic would decide if motorists coming from Katipunan avenue or Ortigas, would be allowed to use the U-turn slot under the Boni Serrano/ Crame flyover. For those familiar with this route, we all know how much traffic build up is caused by the volume of cars trying to go to Makati or southbound all day. This is because engineers back in day when they were building the MRT decided it would be cheaper and quicker to simply block the EDSA/Katipunan intersection than to build a proper flyover or dig a trench so that the MRT would go under ground. This is so sick considering how the MRT went “underground” in front of Dasmariñas Village and North Forbes.

All this got me thinking that since the Duterte administration is pushing its “Build – Build – Build” program, why not consider a “Fix – Fix – Fix” project where we can actually demolish or redesign the elevated U-turn structure on Kalayaan and put in a proper Fly over and do away with the present structures that have caused a constriction of road space and traffic congestion at ground level. The current structures may have seemed like a good idea back in the day they thought of it, but not anymore. The same thing can be said with the Katipunan Avenue/EDSA re-routing scheme. Either the HPG simply let buses on the flyover on Boni, direct all southbound cars to the service road and make their U-turn with out impeding northbound vehicles on EDSA or we all start talking about renovating the EDSA/Katipunan intersection and the MRT layout so a proper flyover can be constructed. Enough with all the old excuses because new technologies have come in and we need to correct or replace solutions that have become monuments of inefficiencies.

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Time and again, there’s been news clips about how motorcycle riders have flocked to the Big C, a section of road in Tanay, Rizal where bikers get their cheap thrills and lots of pain if not death by driving like they were in the MOTO-GP. The weird part is that the only solution that authorities seem to come up with are “operations” or check points where they pull over every biker to check on papers and impress the fear of law enforcement on them. Those operations suck up manpower and vital resources that could be better spent patrolling communities, not on spotting or flagging down bikers. The PNP and local authorities of Rizal province should simply ask the DPWH to place rumble strips or mini humps in several portions of the area that would force bikers to slow down and take away the challenge of the Big C. Not only will it put an end to the risky tricks done on the Big C the rumble strips might also slow down night time drivers and save lives in that dangerous area.

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Every time we ask MMDA officers on why they have not managed to implement their plan to have dedicated lanes on EDSA for “Carpool/HOV”, Motorcycle lane only, and bus lanes, the usual answer is that the DPWH or Department of Public Works and Highways have not yet delivered the barriers that will serve as lane dividers. This has been the situation for almost a year and to this day the DPWH is still zero deliveries. The thing is the MMDA officials don’t seem to realize that they are the ones who are being cursed or hated on everyday all because of DPWH incompetence. Why rely on a department that is more interested in big-ticket projects than relieving Metro Manila traffic. Who needs concrete barriers when the MMDA can easily solicit help or donations from companies that manufacture those blue nylon-PE ropes used on boats and ships. I remember that many manufacturers have factories on Sucat Road in Parañaque and somewhere in Quezon City.

Call me crazy but if the MMDA really wants to try out the lane segregation solution at the least possible cost, then the rope approach would be quick and easy to install, remove or move. They can use some of their old concrete dividers as anchors and split lanes quicker. As for the idea of GM Jojo Garcia to promote carpooling, I suggested to him to consider doing things in small portions such as one dedicated lane first. It is never popular to force an idea on people radically because they usually get rejected or backfires. Try cordoning off one lane for HOV, two for buses, one and a half for motorcycles and the rest goes to cars. Just do it and lets all see for our selves what’s good, what’s bad, refine and try again. If it works then place more permanent dividers. At the very least it might stimulate some culture of discipline for riders and drivers as they get use to operating in a set space and learn respect for their fellow riders or drivers. With the HPG around, now would be a good time to try it out.

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Email: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

DPWH EDSA HIGHWAY PATROL
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