Wanted: Solutions to ease traffic congestion

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Freeman

It's 15 years to the day when the infamous 9/11 incident shocked the entire world  two commercial airliners were deliberately crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City killing more than two thousand innocent people. Thus began the longest and the most vicious war that this world had ever seen. This was one major catastrophe that billions of people were able to watch live on CNN satellite television.

Today the war against terrorism has been compounded with the emergence of the ISIS fighting the five-year old civil war in Syria where hundreds of thousands of refugees are leaving their homelands for safer havens like Europe. The European Union (EU) has been forced to accept the hundreds of thousands of refugees, and the social media networks are busy exposing some of the negatives happening today. Like one ISIS terrorist waving a flag with his arms in defiance…is now seen as one of the refugees entering Europe. Therefore those refugees are now being used as their cover to bring the ISIS war into the heartland of Europe through the thousands of refugees. Wake up world! Worse things will happen to you very soon.

This incident only brings me back to the stark reality of today… that in two years, we Catholics will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal and because the request of the Blessed Virgin Mary was never heeded by the Vatican… to consecrate Russia into her Immaculate Heart, the world has not seen any peace since that time. This is why the World needs Fatima today. If we consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, her Immaculate Heart will triumph and there will be world peace. So will this ever happen in our lifetime?

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The people of Metro Manila fondly called it their "Carmageddon" but what happened last Tuesday on Sept. 8th, the Feast of the Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was something that was totally expected of a Metropolis that has become too overdeveloped, where the majority of business and industry poured more into this metropolis and thus denied the rest of the country the development it deserved. It is called greed! Traffic in EDSA has become so unbearable it is no longer considered a freeway or a highway. It has become a huge parking lot!

Didn't we say it in this corner that even if the Metro Manila Development Authority Traffic Enforcers were replaced by the Philippine National Police Traffic Command (Trafcom) this will not solve the traffic congestion that goes on in EDSA every day of the week? If we in Cebu do not crack the whip and tell our political leaders to wake up or ship out, traffic in Cebu will get worse just like what's happening in EDSA today.

We can only attribute what's happening in EDSA to poor planning of the Nation's Capital Region simply because the system is totally wrong. How many columns have we written that the Department of Public Works & Highways  is the wrong agency to plan where traffic should go. It is Traffic Management that knows the demography of our people and thus it should be made to plan out where new roads should be constructed in order to plan for the future. We need solutions to ease traffic congestion!

A best example is what we have always asked in the last 10 years, that we construct a parallel road to Escario Street. Ten years ago, traffic wasn't as bad in Escario Street as it is today. But no one cared to listen because traffic there wasn't congested. Even then Mayor Tomas Osmeña whom I consider to be a dynamic person when it comes to planning for our roads did not give this any priority when he was the mayor. We asked for this road in the Regional Development Council (RDC-7) and the DPWH did not listen. So if traffic is bad in Escario Street today, blame it on the system… that DPWH should not be made to plan where new streets or roads should be built.

Take a good look at the most congested intersection in Mandaue City, along Quezon Avenue and Plaridel Street where it is only a few meters from the DPWH District office. They see, touch, and feel the traffic congestion right before their eyes but what do they do? They construct a P25-million concrete divider, which is a waste of public funds! If I had my way, I would fire all the DPWH officials holding office in Mandaue for not seeing the problem.

During the First Cebu Traffic Summit in October 1998, we espoused the need for a Metro Cebu Traffic Authority but even this solution wasn't given any importance because the political giants in those days demanded that they control MCTA if it gets enacted. All what we are seeing are selfish and vested interests of our political leaders rather than what we should do to make Cebu a livable city. Even those who belong to the group against flyovers are doing Cebu a disservice…their cause have only made Cebu more unlivable because they shut their doors to solutions that could have helped solve our traffic problems.

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For email responses to this article, write to [email protected] or [email protected]. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

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