City stalls bike lane proposal

Kristine B. Quintas/JMD (The Freeman) - October 23, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu City Council has deferred the approval of the proposed shared priority bike lanes amid three councilors’ objections.

Councilors Gerardo Carillo, Noel Wenceslao and Mary Ann Delos Santos said putting up bicycle lanes in city’s major and minor thoroughfares is not feasible considering the narrow roads.

Wenceslao has been favoring off-road bike lanes, while Carillo supports dedicated bike lanes or paths dedicated for bicycle routes.

“I am not amenable with shared priority bike lanes. It would be better if off-road bike lanes are proposed for the safety of our bikers and not to further make our roads narrow,” Wenceslao said.

Singapore and Xiamen in China have been implementing a scheme on off-road bike lanes. Under this scheme, bicycle paths are put up away from vehicular traffic.

Carillo, on the other hand, said the city needs a dedicated bike lane instead of the shared bike lanes.

“Dedicated bike lane is more doable method than any other road schemes. It’s safe and could minimize road accidents,” he said.

Councilor Eugenio Gabuya Jr. disagreed, saying dedicated bike lanes would occupy more road spaces.

Councilor Nida Cabrera also defended that the proposed shared priority road lanes are “more reliable and feasible.”

Cabrera authored the ordinance that seeks to establish 1.5 meter-wide shared bike lanes on city streets and to allocate parking areas for the bikers.

Cabrera stressed that there’s a need to establish shared bike lanes and bike-friendly zones in order to safeguard bikers from accident and other road-related incidents.

“Ang mga bikers naa naman sila daan, ato lang gipahimutang sila sa proper place by putting shared priority bike lanes for their safety,” she said.

Delos Santos said the concept may be “good” if the city had wide streets.

She said the recently-concluded road-sharing experiment in four major thoroughfares, including the Osmeña Boulevard, General Maxilom Avenue, Gorordo Avenue and Escario Street, contributed to traffic congestions and disturbed vehicular traffic.

She claimed that roads in the city somehow did not follow the standard designs.

“….we have narrow roads built for vehicles. We have wide roads, but those are taken by ambulant vendors,” she pointed out.

Delos Santos suggested that the board revisit opening, strengthening and widening of roads.

Cabrera said all of the concerns raised by the councilors were already considered by the Tindak Sugbo Board in the drafting of the proposed ordinance.

Tindak Sugbo Board was created for the implementation of the bike lanes plan of the city and to review city’s transportation master plan, among others.

Section 9 of the proposed ordinance gives the Tindak Sugbo Board the mandate to create rules and regulations for the implementation of the shared priority bike lanes program, create bike educational campaign program, and perform necessary actions to effectively implement the ordinance.

Delos Santos also said City Ordinance 801 or “an ordinance establishing a traffic code for the City of Cebu” will be incorporated in the proposed measure. — (FREEMAN)

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