Not pedestrian-friendly?

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

With the price of gasoline and diesel reaching unprecedented highs, people are resorting to cheaper means of getting around. While some use motorcycles, electric scooters, or take public transportation, there is no cheaper way than walking.

But a TikTok video of Gabriele Raine Baljak, Miss Cebu 2016, went viral when she tried to walk from Bonifacio Global City to Mandaluyong. Google maps directed her to use the BGC-Ortigas Road Link Bridge in crossing the Pasig River. According to Google maps, the new bridge is safe for pedestrians to use. But when she started crossing the bridge over the aromatic river, there was no real sidewalk for pedestrians. Based on her photo, all I can see is a bike lane and a road. If the narrow-elevated concrete portion right next to the wall is what they consider a sidewalk, then it is laughable. If a bicycle and a car happen to be side-by-side along the bridge while you’re walking, then you will have to make sure you are not hit by the bicycle. A safe sidewalk that is not.

“Mt. Kamuning” or the very high footbridge on EDSA-Kamuning is back in the spotlight. This time a foreign diplomat criticized the footbridge and that does not help prop up the country’s image. He was spot on when he said, “there is no better way to make it clear to pedestrians that they don't matter." Comments were filled with blame on former president Noynoy Aquino’s administration, but the fact-checkers immediately proved it was built in 2018. People are just too quick to blame the “yellows” for almost everything without first knowing the facts. Typical.

It turns out Metro Manila is not pedestrian-friendly. Urban planning seems poor. I would agree. Normal-sized sidewalks are normally encroached on by businesses or small stalls. Local governments would act on them one day only for them to return after a length of time. When bike lanes were added to the roads, the smaller roads became smaller. I don't have a problem with bike lanes but having them on already small roads sometimes leads to unfortunate encounters between a cyclist and a motorist. The country is relatively small compared to others with Metro Manila already bursting at the seams. And if President Marcos Jr. vetoed the construction of a new airport in Bulacan due to alleged fiscal risks, then the future of decongesting NAIA remains on hold for now. Efforts to correct the supposed poor planning suffers a setback.


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