The sidewalk program & the TESDA sidewalk

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Freeman

I have been keenly interested in the sidewalk program that was initiated by Mayor Michael Rama and there are two areas that somehow the contractor just couldn't proceed anymore due to a number of poles in one location and a PLDT Box. I'm referring to the corner along Mango Ave. as you enter Raintree Mall in front of Jollibee. This is one place that even if the contractor fixed the sidewalk, pedestrians just can't pass through. They just have to walk on the street to get past those power poles.

I know that the Visayan Electric Company has a plan to put all the power lines underground on the Sinulog Route, but I don't think that VECO owns all the poles along that sidewalk. There are just too many poles, such as poles for street signs and traffic signal lights that stand along this sidewalk, which just gives you an idea that pedestrians, many of whom are taxpayers, are not given priority.

Another area where the sidewalk contractors seem to have stopped their construction is along Escario Street, just between Maxwell Hotel and BF Building where the Mini Stop is located. On that part of Escario Street, the sidewalk totally disappears! Shame on our so-called zoning board, which dared try to remove the coffee shop of Mr. Adrian Lee along Don Jose Avila Street, which is located on a private property. But along Escario Street which is a main road, they couldn't see this problem where there is no sidewalk.

I don't know who is in charge of the sidewalk program, but surely the Department of Public Works & Highways should check Escario Street, which is a national road. Obviously, they have failed to implement the sidewalk ordinance along Escario Street. It cannot not be said that finally the City of Cebu has focused on this sidewalk program when it should have done decades ago. But due to some technical problems the construction has stopped. Perhaps someone ought to come up with an ordinance that should prioritize the needs of the pedestrians rather than the needs of the Telcos or VECO that are the major stumbling blocks on our sidewalks.

Another sidewalk issue that we've already written about is the sidewalk along the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority  which last January, Mayor Mike Rama wanted to lead the charge to destroy its fence because this national government agency which is funded by taxpayers money did not give an inch of its wall to pedestrians, especially those working at the AsiaTown I.T. Park.

Well, months ago because of public pressure, TESDA started building a new wall setting it back to make room for the sidewalk. Lo and behold! The new sidewalk is lined up with trees, thus making it very difficult for pedestrians even to walk a straight line! What I would like to know is why has TESDA given only a small part for a sidewalk, when there is still a huge space for a set back? Clearly DPWH that is implementing this project only gave the legal minimum for the TESDA setback.

Again this brings us back to the issue of giving more space to pedestrians, many of whom pay taxes and funding TESDA. While they haven't finished with their fencing, I suggest that DPWH gives more to this setback or cut those trees. But then why should we cut those trees in the first place? They give shade to pedestrians. So TESDA must move some more to make way for the pedestrians.

Meanwhile at the CITOM or Traffic Management front. Don't our traffic enforcers know that the most violated street today is right in front of the Chong Hua Hospital along Cybergate? Yesterday, I had to knock on two vehicles that were double parking along the Don Mariano Cui Street with emergency lights flashing! During my days as CITOM chairman, I always told my enforcers to watch out for flashing vehicles because 99% of the time, they are not having any emergency, but violating a No-Parking sign.

But like what I've been saying all along, whenever I see a violator, I see the failure of traffic enforcement! CITOM enforcers are not assigned in all critical areas, which is why they just can't cope with the massive number of violators, and yes, many drivers are irresponsible and ill-disciplined. Just yesterday as I was passing through Don Mariano Cui Street, there was a van driving towards me. This street is a one-way street and I stopped so I wouldn't give way to him. He merely swerved to pass through. Again, zero enforcement along that road.

The solution to this enforcement problem is for Cebu City to embark on a "Strike Three! You're out" program. During my time in CITOM, we had problems with the trisikads that were getting apprehended, returned, and only to be apprehended again. It had become a big joke. So we passed an ordinance that on the third time a trisikad is apprehended, we cut the sidecar and throw it into the sea and return the bicycle to the owner. Alas when l left CITOM, Mayor Tomas Osmeña had that law repealed. No political will!


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

vuukle comment












  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with