Freeman Cebu Sports

A better CEBU must start with YOU and ME!

EVERY POUND COUNT - Alan G. Choachuy - The Freeman

Exactly 33 years ago, I got behind the steering wheel of our Old Ford Laser during a traffic jam along Banilad area. Coming home from school where I took over driving from my mom who was driving us home from school, with no driving experience, I took the challenge and was able to reach home safe and sound. The traffic was horrendous that night and we have to endure the that night in, night out. 

Based on my visual memory, the roads at those times were a narrow 2-lane.  Jeepneys stop anytime, anywhere and pedestrian walks  where ever they want and cross the streets almost everywhere.  Although the traffic rules have been set, nobody seems to follow it. Give way is not in our vocabulary, and every drivers goal was to go faster.  Even with the narrow roads, private cars, jeepneys and tricyles counterflow, even double counter flow at times.

Fast forward to 2018 with most of roads widened, sidewalks improved, overpass and flyovers built, junction box drawn and traffic light installed.  It may have eased the traffic, but it was only shortlived as each passing year, traffic in Cebu has worsened. Clearly the planning and projection was erroneous.

And now with the implementation of BRT being held in order to give way for further and complete studies.  There comes another group trying to implement the LRT in Cebu. It makes us ponder and think, do we need all of these to solve the traffic situation in Metro Cebu?

Do these people even go around the city on jeepneys or walk around to see the actual problem or they just go around in their beautiful and air-conditioned SUVs or sports cars? With this said, aside from a feasibility study, a more complete and reliable visibility study should take place. Meaning check out the actual problem! Walk on it, ride on it and feel it. Then you will know what kind solution we need. I know one congressman who was a former mayor of the Mandaue who goes around on the city on bicycle, motorbike and sometimes run around the city to check out actual situation without people knowing it.

Now here is my take on the real problem of our traffic situation.

Vehicle count: Vehicles has increased throughout the years. With car dealers offering easy installment plans, people are buying cars left and right, and the increase of vehicles it is not directly proportional to the size of roads which sad to say has relatively stayed the same for the past 30 years with some minor widening project.

Network roads: We should fix, widen and add network or alternate routes to help ease the traffic. We have alternate routes all over the city but the problem is it such a narrow road and full off potholes.

Jeepneys: Fritz Co explained to me that the jeepneys are the most efficient transport system available compared to BRT and LRT. Fritz explained that if you divide the number of passengers in proportion to size of vehicle, then the jeepney is way more efficient compared to bus or train. The jeepney has a bigger capacity ratio between size and number of passengers, imagine a 6 seating row comfortably can be squeezed to 8 (walo-walo na!) or even (siyam siyam).

But presently, the problem is jeepney stops where they want and when they want to stop. Jeepney picks up passengers anywhere from the middle of road, on top of the sidewalks.

Jeepney stops has been implemented before but it stops right most lane of the road and it blocks other vehicle instead.  There should be a clear and long term planning on the location of jeepney stops around Metro Cebu (Talisay, Cebu City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu, North side all the way to Compostela, Danao and to the south all the way to Naga or Carcar). A long term planning of location of where these routes shall stop, end and pick up passengers. Our local malls like Ayala, SM, Parkmall took the initiative already in putting up terminal in their respective areas just to ease and control the in and out of traffic.

But due to the traffic congestion, the turnaround time of the jeepneys

take so long to comeback and in effect it creates shortage. Jeepney has been part of our lives and will continue to be.

A little tweak, like making it more efficient and safer for our commuter is essential.

Pedestrians: Pedestrian lanes and sidewalks are sometimes filled with vendors, illegal structures and the pedestrian has no way to walk that’s  why some walk on the street. But pedestrian are also part of the problem. They cross the street anytime, anywhere (murag ako) and most all when taking the jeeps, pedestrians or commuter take/ride or get off the jeepney anytime anywhere.

Illegal parking: Just recently, Mandaue City made a bold move to convert Guizo stretch to a one-way street leading all the way to Pacific Mall. It was such bold move that helped ease the traffic of Mandaue but sadly these roads are now filled with illegally parked cars left and right, making the 4-lane road to 2 lanes. And for the past 6 years, the Canduman access road going to Talamban is being widened but again roads are now being used as parking space.

Planning: Long term planning (30 to 40 years projection) on creating alternate routes to decongest traffic. Put up bike lanes, pedestrian lanes and improve sidewalks where we can actually walk or ride our bikes to work.

If you check the distance from Guadalupe to Ayala or Mandaue to Ayala, it is roughly only around 4 to 5km and on the bicycle, it will take between 10 to 20 minutes plus it makes you healthier. And if jeepney is efficiently spread out all over the city with ample space for passengers to disembark or ride, then you don’t to need drive your car.  Imagine, if there are 10 to 20 major jeepney terminals all over Metro Cebu with ample parking space, bike racks, PWD access, covered walk, commercial space and toilet. Coupled with careful planning where jeepney stops and route shall take place, then one can simply drive to the terminal, parked their cars, bike or even walk to the terminal. Imagine what will it be like then everybody will be healthy.

Implementation: One may have the best or full proof traffic plans, drawings, and estimate but if it is poorly implemented then its useless and inutile.

Discipline: I can continue on and on with all my unsolicited advices on how to help our traffic but the bottom line is the single and most important factor of all -DISCIPLINE.

I am no saint, I sometimes commit some violation, but we all have to start  somewhere as a motorist, pedestrian, jeepney driver, tricycle driver, bikers we have all to do our part. And just maybe if we follow all the rules then we may not need these expensive BRT, LRT projects at all.

I am not siding with any group but I am siding on what is best for CEBU! So first things first, before implementing big projects like underpass, overpass, BRT or LRT, let’s go back to basics. Follow the rules and implement it. Give way. Don’t block the junction box  or corners, pedestrians must cross only on pedestrian lanes. A better CEBU must start with YOU and ME!



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