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MMDA’s quick fix: Steel flyovers

Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino has proposed a project to build four quick-steel flyovers to ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila, especially along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue.

Tolentino, who came under fire over the worsening traffic problem in Metro Manila, said on Wednesday he asked the Department of Public Works and Highways to consider building quick flyovers in Santolan, P. Tuazon, Katipunan and Vito Cruz, areas covered by the six major chokepoints on Edsa.

Tolentino

He said the flyovers, each  spanning 400 meters, are made of steel similar to what  Thailand built to solve the traffic problem in Bangkok.

“Once the project completed, it will ease traffic. This [flyover] is just temporarily but it can be permanent. That was what  they made in Bangkok,” said Tolentino.

He added: “Bangkok has 139 square kilometers as against Metro Manila with 636 square kilometers. The Edsa equivalent of Bangkok is Middle Ring Road, which is 42 km but here we have 23 km [Edsa]. Pag nagawa, luluwag tayo.”

Tolentino, however, said motorists and commuters will experience traffic on both southbound and northbound lanes in  the areas affected by the construction of  flyovers.

Tolentino also asked the government to start implementing the planned subway system from Cavite to Bulacan, which is one of the long-term solutions to the traffic problem in the metropolis.               

The MMDA chief said he was  hoping that the construction of the  51-km subway from Dasmariñas in Cavite to San Jose del Monte in Bulacan would start before President Benigno Aquino III finishes his term of office in June 2016.

The project forms part of the more than P2-trillion transportation plan presented to the Philippine government by Japan International Cooperation Agency in its “Roadmap for Transport Infrastructure Development for Metro Manila and Its Surrounding Areas”.

“If they start 2017, maybe they would finish it by 2020,” said Tolentino.

MMDA planning chief Mico Gizon said the National Economic and Development Authority and the Department of Transportation and Communications planned to construct a 51-km subway or the Mass Transit System Loop traversing the major business districts of Metro Manila.            

Based on Numbeo study, Philippines ranked No. 4 among Asian countries and placed 9th in the world’s worst traffic.

Numbeo’s collated data on the traffic situation of 88 countries for its 2015 Traffic Index, showing that the Philippines obtained a “traffic index” of 202.31.

It stated that traffic index refers to the “composite index of time consumed in traffic due to job commute, estimation of time consumption dissatisfaction, carbon dioxide consumption estimation in traffic and overall inefficiencies in the traffic system.”

The Philippines ranked fourth in having the worst traffic situation in Asia, trailing after Bangladesh, Jordan and Iran.

Also as part of the efforts to ease traffic, the MMDA and local government units vowed to intensify a campaign removing all illegally parked vehicles along major roads.

“I foresee the next few days will be devoted to strengthen this as having Metro Manila mayors onboard in the campaign to get rid of illegally parked vehicles,” said Tolentino.

Tolentino said he was   to meet members of the Metro Manila Council and the Department of Interior and Local Government to discuss plans to get rid of illegally parked vehicles and other obstructions on major streets.

Metro Manila Council ordinance 78-03Ab  authorizes the MMDA  to tow and   impound     illegally parked motor vehicles.

The MMC came up with the policy following observation that stalled and illegally parked vehicles are among the contributors of perennial traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

The government is also considering the proposal of “no garage, no car ”  policy to ease traffic in Metro Manila.

Supt. Arnold Gunnacao, officer-in-charge of the National Police—Highway Patrol Group, proposed the idea during a joint hearing at the Senate committees on economic affairs, and public works on the traffic situation in Metro Manila.

“We should declare all streets to be no parking zones so the streets will be open for the public,” he said.  

Angelito Vergel de Dios, former MMDA Traffic and Transport Management Office chief, said illegal structures of bus and jeepney terminals, illegal operation of tricycles, sidewalk vending, extension of stores, and the wanton disregard of public and private motorists to traffic rules are the main reason of road congestion.

Meanwhile, Tolentino urged commuters to patronize the Pasig River Ferry system to avoid traffic in Metro Manila.

He said he is encouraging the people to take ferry ride as an alternative mode of transportation considering the traffic jams on major roads of Metro Manila caused by various road projects such as the ongoing construction of the Skyway 3 along the Osmeña Highway and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport elevated expressway.

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