Caught (up) in traffic

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Daily Archives: August 25, 2011

Congestion along Imelda (Felix) Avenue

Imelda Avenue was its original name and is taken from the first name of a former First Lady of the Republic. It was appropriate at the time considering it intersected with Marcos Highway, which was being developed as a main thoroughfare to the east and alternate to the older and established corridor of Ortigas Avenue. Imelda Avenue extends from the Cainta Junction where the road continues towards the town center of Cainta as A. Bonifacio Ave., up to Marcos Highway, across which, the road continues towards the Marikina City center as A. Tuazon Ave.

Imelda Avenue is basically a 4-lane, divided road with the division pertaining to the narrow island in the middle of the avenue than separates opposing flows of traffic. At some point in the middle of the avenue, from the Vista Verde subdvision main gate, two 2-lane undivided service roads appear on either side of the highway and continue until Karangalan Village, which has phases on each side of Imelda Avenue. Sometime in the 1990s, the avenue’s name was changed to Francisco Felix Avenue, in honor apparently of a former mayor of Cainta who was the first of a dynasty of three Felixes who became Mayor of the town. The current mayor is a former media personality on his third term and, who seems to be on the way to establishing his own dynasty by already advertising projects and accomplishments of his better half. But that’s politics and definitely another story that we will steer away from. Anyhow, the original name of the avenue was restored sometime ago as most people still referred to it as Imelda rather than Felix.

Adding insult to the injury that is congestion along Marcos Highway are the severe jams experienced by motorists and commuters passing through Imelda Avenue. The congestion is primarily attributed to the civil works related to projects of the Manila Water concessionaire whose pipes happen to be located in the middle of the road and not conveniently under one lane of the highway. Manila Water is not to blame as this was something they inherited from the MWSS who laid down the pipes, apparently without the benefit of foresight. The result of the project is severe congestion as only one lane has been practically available for Cainta-bound traffic.

But even without the project, congestion has been an issue due to the continuously increasing volume of through traffic plus the contributions in vehicle generation of the residential areas on either side of Imelda. These generators include the sprawling Vista Verde, Village East and Green Park subdivisions that have  relatively high car ownership due to their mainly middle class residents. Jeepney operations along the highway where loading and unloading operations are indiscriminate and undisciplined. The two service roads offer minor comfort considering these are usually clogged by on-street parking due to commercial establishments. Tricycles operating along these service roads also contribute to slow traffic if one opts to bypass the sections affected by the water project.

The following photos were taken during a weekend trip where I had to pass through Imelda Avenue. Many areas along the highway are flood-prone (much of Imelda was submerged during Ketsana/Ondoy) so this eventuality is partly to blame for what seems to be a slowly progressing project that has already wasted a lot of valuable time and fuel. Hopefully, the project will be completed before the “ber” months arrive when traffic naturally starts to increase due to the anticipation for the Christmas season.

Cordoned section showing only one lane of Imelda Ave southbound available to traffic. Other vehicles brave the west service road on the right.

Pavement subgrade prepared for subsequent pouring for concrete at section approaching Vista Verde main gate. The pedestrian overpass downstream serves a national high school along the northbound side of Imelda Avenue and beside the Vista Verde gate. Notice the island on the right occupying space equivalent to 1 lane.

Newly paved lane along Imelda Avenue fronting the Karangalan market. The island separating Imelda from the west service road has been removed along this section to alleviate congestion and permit vehicle maneuvers in the vicinity of the market.

Manila Water contractor working on lane past Vista Verde main gate . Notice that there are no service roads along either side of Imelda from this point.