In the news

ARE WE THERE YET? - Backseat Driver (The Freeman) - February 23, 2014 - 12:00am

A couple of things happened this week that is worth mentioning.  First was the news about the Share the Road group pushing the highest tribunal into filing the Writ of Kalikasan.  The other was the local traffic group’s bold announcement to strictly enforce a part of an ordinance drafted more than forty years ago.

Let’s start with the Writ of Kalikasan.  For the benefit of those who missed that news, the writ is a legal remedy for those who believe that their “constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated or threatened.”  In easier to understand terms, if you feel that there aren’t enough vegetable plants or fruit trees lining the roads on your way to work, then you can sue the government.  If  you think I am joking, the petition for the writ actually states “half of the road shall be used for all-weather sidewalks and bicycle lanes as well as for urban edible gardens pursuant to Section 12B of  Executive Order No. 774.”  So, if at any point you feel you were not able to pick up your fill of fruits and vegetables along the way, by all means, sue the city.

Interesting to note is their demand to use half of existing roads for sidewalks, bicycle lanes and your granny’s veggie garden, while the other half should be for motorized vehicles, preferably for safe, efficient, convenient and inexpensive collective or mass Filipino-made transportation systems.  Widening the sidewalk to give people a safe place to walk on won’t help.  As long as there are dimwits on scooters who use the sidewalk as an extension road, no sidewalk would be safe for pedestrians.  Not to mention those ‘carenderia’ owners who would only be too glad that they could place more tables on the sidewalk to increase their dining area. 

As long as law enforcers are extremely lax at disciplining these two sidewalk menaces, there will be no sidewalk safe enough for anyone to walk on.

Speaking of lax law enforcement, the main city has boldly announced that after 40 years, they will strictly enforce a section of an ordinance (drafted in 1973), making it unlawful for a person riding upon any bicycle, motor scooter, coaster, roller skates or any toy vehicle to attach the same or himself to any moving vehicle.  There has been a recent increase in the number of daredevils on tiny wheels crisscrossing the busy streets.  If these were the late 80’s to early 90’s, I’d blame movies like “Thrasin” and ‘Prayer Of The Rollerboys’ for influencing these daredevils.  Unfortunately, their influence is beyond that.  They seem to think that every piece of  flat land is an X-Games course and they negotiate the streets like they were in contention for a gold medal.

So here’s the fun part.  One group is pushing for non-motorized vehicles to get as much or more road space as motorized vehicles, while an entire city is pushing to rid the streets of non-motorized vehicles.  The latter is in direct contrast with the vision of the advocates of road-sharing.  I foresee a battle between the constitutionality of such action versus the overall safety of the public.

Whichever one wins, I look forward to being able to do my daily grocery without having to leave the comfort of my motor vehicle, courtesy of the veggie and fruit garden that will be required by the writ to line the roads.

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