Metro traffic mess can be solved

The worsening traffic problem in Metro Manila is not entirely hopeless.  Banning more vehicles from Edsa on the basis of the numbers on their license plates is not the solution. Only the rich who have many vehicles will benefit from that arrangement.   The solution lies with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Philippine National Police.            

Major roadways must be identified.   That list must include EDSA, C-5, and South Super Highway, as well as Rizal, Quirino, Recto, Taft, and Lacson, avenues; España, Quezon, Roxas, Magsaysay, and Ayala boulevards; and Padre Burgos, Legarda, Pedro Gil, Victorino Mapa, and Nagtahan streets (in Manila); Santolan, Quezon, Pedro Tuason, Amoranto, Commonwealth, Katipunan, Araneta, Rodriguez, Roosevelt, Visayas, Congressional, Tomas Morato, Hemady, Gilmore, North, East, West, and Timog avenues; and Aurora Boulevard and Banawe Street (in Quezon City); Ayala, Puyat, and Makati avenues; Pasong Tamo, Pasay Road, and J.P. Rizal Street (in Makati); and Ortigas, Meralco, and Boni avenues; and   Shaw and Pasig boulevards, and General Kalentong and Wilson streets (in Pasig and Mandaluyong)

Traffic policemen and MMDA personnel must be visible at regular intervals along these major roads to ensure that traffic moves smoothly at all times.   The theory is that if traffic along these major roads moves continuously, even at a slow pace, traffic elsewhere in the metropolis will move continuously as well.   Any movement, no matter how slow, as long as it is continuous, is better than being stationary.   Basic traffic regulations must be strictly enforced along these roadways.     

Parking along these major roads must be prohibited at all times.   Vehicles stopping at any destination along these roads must be assisted in getting off the main road as fast as possible.

Public utility vehicles, including taxicabs, using major roads must load and unload passengers only at designated stops there.   After staying there for a maximum of 100 seconds, the vehicles must move on and yield space for the next set of vehicles which need to use the stop.   No person shall be allowed to alight from any moving vehicle.   

The fast lane (the one nearest the center island) must be rid of slow-moving vehicles.   Public utility buses and jeepneys as well as taxicabs with or without passengers must stay only on the outermost lane, except when they are overtaking. Tricycles, bicycles, pedicabs, pushcarts and similar means of movement must be prohibited from major roads at all times.

Motorcycles should be disallowed from major roads during the rush hours.   Unlike conventional vehicles, motorcycles can still reach their destinations using minor streets during the rush hours.   When on major roads, motorcycles must stay on the designated motorcycle lanes.

Vehicles involved in collisions must be photographed by MMDA personnel immediately.   After that, the vehicles must proceed to the nearest police station or MMDA office for any unfinished matters.   Stalled vehicles should be pushed to the nearest gasoline station by the driver concerned, with the assistance of traffic personnel.   When no gasoline station is in sight, the vehicle must be pushed to the nearest sidewalk which can accommodate the vehicle.   The owner of the stalled vehicle must pay a fine, and he must retrieve the vehicle within a specified period or face punitive consequences.

The number-coding rule on license plates must be strictly enforced.   No vehicle shall be allowed to use special plates.   Non-police vehicles displaying any secondary plate, or sticker, or sign identifying it with police authorities, the military service, an organization with an extensive network (like the Freemasons), or any law enforcement agency (like the National Bureau of Investigation), shall be prohibited from all roads at all times.   Vehicles with red government plates, or those which are marked “for official use only” shall not be allowed on the major roadways during the morning and evening rush hours.   Vehicles with low-numbered plates shall not be exempted from the rules.   

All vehicles using any road in the metropolis must have the requisite license plates.   The use of “for registration” labels and stickers shall be allowed for a limited period only.   Government vehicles, including those of police, military, and law enforcement agencies shall not be exempted from this requirement.  

Only ambulances on emergency trips and police vehicles on official calls may use their sirens along major roadways.   Motorcycle policemen shall not be permitted to escort private vehicles and vehicles used by government officials.   These cops should be monitoring traffic along major roads.   The entourage of the President of the Philippines may be exempted from this rule.

Drivers of public utility vehicles must obtain professional driver’s licenses issued by the Land Transportation Office.   They must display it on the dashboard for easy visual recognition.   This will discourage unauthorized persons from driving public utility vehicles and adding to the traffic mess. 

Smoke-belching vehicles must be impounded immediately because they force motorists behind them to shift lanes indiscriminately.   The rear of owner-type private jeeps must be painted to prevent them from reflecting the headlights of the vehicle behind them.   Vehicles with no front or rear lights, and those without brake lights, must be impounded immediately.

Trucks, delivery panels, and heavy vehicles may use specific roads only during the late night and very early morning hours.   These vehicles must be confined to the truck lanes at all times.         

Schools located along major roads must be required to plan for the compulsory use of school buses or public transportation for their students. Vehicles bringing children to and fetching them from school should not convert the roadway into a private parking lot or waiting station.

U-turns along major roads should be allowed only under flyovers and bridges.

Traffic cops and MMDA personnel must be visible along major roadways even at nighttime.   This way, trucks and heavy vehicles will be forced to comply with traffic rules, reckless and drunken driving will be discouraged, and road accidents (which will cause traffic jams in the morning rush hours) can be kept to a minimum.

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