DPWH on the ball

Happy Hour received feedback from Philip James Maluping of the Traffic Engineering Division of the Department of Public Works and Highways, clarifying that the photo in our Sept. 8 column “Do-nothings in Edsa” (check out this link for reference­—  showing orange-garbed men and women under the Santolan-Edsa flyover were not MMDA operatives but DPWH personnel from the district office who were deployed to do traffic count, which is why some of them have pen and paper and were sitting under the flyover.

According to Maluping, the traffic count is part of the PNP-HPG’s traffic management scheme along Edsa (since it’s obvious to everyone now except President BS Aquino that MMDA under chairman Francis Tolentino is not up to the job as far as traffic management is concerned).

“The DPWH was instructed to do the technical services particularly the traffic engineering part, i.e. to delineate the yellow bus lanes, to delineate the transition markers at some identified intersections or side streets, to install yellow boxes at big intersections along Edsa, and to modify existing or install new loading and unloading bays for public utility vehicles especially for buses,” Malusing disclosed.

“For us in the DPWH Traffic Engineering Division to come up with a thorough traffic analysis of Edsa, our Secretary [Rogelio] Singson directed all six district engineering offices under DPWH National Capital Region having jurisdiction on Edsa to conduct vehicular and pedestrian counts at almost 30 critical intersections along Edsa from Monumento to Macapagal Avenue,” he explained.

According to Mr. Malusing, the count survey began last Sept. 8 and would end on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at the latest. Owing to the number of intersections along Edsa and the fact that only a limited number of personnel can be deployed, the DPWH-TED is hard pressed to conduct the analysis posthaste. Given the limited resources, Malusing (and we assume the DPWH itself) is hoping that the public will be able to understand the situation.

“The number of deployed personnel for the count survey depends on the number of traffic movements using an intersection and the presence of flyovers and underpasses in the intersection. For example, the at-grade intersection of Edsa Shaw Boulevard has a total of 10 vehicular movements, plus the underpass of 2 movements and the pedestrian movements of 4, with a grand total of 16. Note that the flyover along Shaw Boulevard will not be counted since it will not directly affect Edsa. At 16 movements at Edsa Shaw, we can deploy at least 10 people per shift, with certain personnel handling two movements.

“The duration of the count is 14 hours for two shifts: 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., with a team leader from the respective district office having supervision acting with a counterpart supervisor from the central office to make sure that the personnel conduct the right procedure for the count survey,” said Malusing.

Aside from the traffic count survey, the DPWH is also doing “travel time and delay survey to determine whether the traffic management scheme is effective or not. After all, data have been gathered, the DPWH would analyze the situation with Edsa through a “microscopic simulation software.”

“Along the way and as of writing, we are still doing technical meetings regarding the traffic management of Edsa, wherein we discuss about some improvements or modifications to be done,” Mr. Malusing elaborated.

We get you, Mr. Malusing, and many certainly don’t expect the HPG and DPWH to solve the chaotic traffic situation in Metro Manila in a snap since it took the current MMDA leadership five years to bring us to this mess today.

If you were one of those unfortunate souls who found himself miserably wishing he were at home instead of out on the streets waiting for a ride under the pouring rain and finding out that cursing to high heavens will not make traffic go any faster nor miraculously conjure a taxi willing to take you through the flooded underpass along Edsa-Cubao, then we know that you know what we are saying and why we are saying this: MMDA under the current dispensation should be renamed Makapal Mukha Din Ano.

There are supposed to be 2,000-plus MMDA personnel who work 24/7 but they were nowhere to be found. Sure, the agency was tweeting photos of flooded areas along Edsa—from Shaw Blvd. to Cubao—but why were the pumps not activated at once? Money was allocated for those pumping stations  in case you didn’t know? Some HPG men have reportedly complained that the MMDA people did not brief them on flood-prone areas and were left to themselves in last Tuesday’s heavy downpour. It’s like throwing the baby into the pool and expecting it to swim and float on water!

By the way, stoolies claim that the MMDA and the DPWH do not agree on certain traffic management schemes. Let’s put it this way: The MMDA under chairman Tolentino has been “managing” traffic in the last five years. Now here comes the DPWH with certain suggestions on how traffic could be improved. If you were the president and you were to decide whose recommendation to adopt, the answer should be obvious.


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