Villarete to NEDA: Walk, bike to work
Odessa O. Leyson (The Freeman) - December 17, 2018 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Following the idea of pedestrianization as a way of addressing traffic congestion in the City of Cebu, City Administrator Nigel Paul Villarete has challenged the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to promote walking and biking going to and from work.


Villarete, who is also a bike enthusiast, believes that by encouraging the public to walk and bike, it would reduce dependency on private cars and other motorized vehicles.

“However, I would also want to give a friendly challenge to NEDA that we should believe in this concept in the first place because it will look awkward if we don’t continue and propose the study,” he told The FREEMAN.

Earlier this month, NEDA has announced that they are commissioning a study for possible pedestrianization in urban areas.

NEDA-7 wants to address the traffic congestion in roads.  Among the busy areas the Cebu City Transportation Office has identified are MJ Cuenco Avenue, P. Del Rosario St. and Osmeña Boulevard.

Villarete said the public forgot the default mode of transport, which is walking and biking which people has been doing during ancient times.

“Sometimes, we are used to bringing our vehicles, we forgot when we are young, when humans are young, we walked a lot,” he said.

With this, he is hopeful that NEDA would believe that walking and biking makes the concept of pedestrianization effective.

Otherwise, the public will doubt on the proposed pedestrianization.

“So I hope the NEDA people, including the people in NEDA regional office, do they really believe in walking and in fact doing it? I hope that in course of the study and they will show to the people that they are walking or biking, that would help a lot in convincing people,” Villarete said.

He lauded NEDA for coming up an idea of pedestrianization, saying it is a good move for the city in which traffic is among the pressing concerns of the government.

Earlier, Villarete expressed his support in the initiative, since he has been biking from home to City Hall during work days.

Pedestrianization means private cars, motorcycles, and others are restricted to access to dedicated roads for walking.

“What we are pushing for or promoting is really the nature of biking and walking, and this is something that we really would want to thank NEDA for coming up with such an idea and much more providing impetus for doing this study,” Villarete said.

At present, the Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) is determining a team that will be awarded to conduct the study.

NEDA-7 has allocated P3.5 million for the study. If it begins this year, it is expected to finish by mid-2019.

Meanwhile, the city government is now working on the implementation of the bike lanes in the city.

Villarete said they are discussing important matters before a full blast implementation of such scheme.

“Do we or do we not register bicycles? Do we or do we not promote helmets? Do we or do we not provide protected bike lanes or road sharing? These are the issues that we are resolving,” he said. — GAN (FREEMAN)

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