The MMDA is implementing a one-week dry run of its motorcycle lane scheme along EDSA starting today, February 14. The scheme is the same as that implemented along Commonwealth Avenue where motorcycles are assigned to use only one lane of a road – in the case of EDSA the 4th lane from the curbside. To guide riders and drivers of other motor vehicles, the MMDA used alternating white and line blue pavement markings for the motorcycle lane similar to what was done along Commonwealth.
Following are photos taken last week along EDSA and a few observations on the traffic conditions with respect to the motorcycle lane scheme.
Light blue lane markings can be seen designating the 4th lane from the curbside for motorcycles. The yellow markings are for the two outermost lanes that are designated as bus lanes. While bus lanes are supposed to be for the exclusive use of buses, many private vehicles use the lanes throughout the day and are not apprehended by traffic enforcers for this encroachment.
Close-up of sign for the motorcycle lane but with “fine print” indicating that the same lane may be used by private vehicles – herein lies the problem as private vehicles are sure to mix it up with motorcycles, with the high likelihood that riders will revert to lane splitting or using other lanes. This will be an enforcement nightmare.
Motorcycle lane ascends the flyover crossing the junction with Quezon Avenue – the lane is again the middle of three lanes. That’s the EDSA-MRT Quezon Avenue station on the left and downstream in the photo and the Centris mall on the right.
If the implementation of the motorcycle lane scheme along Commonwealth is to be the basis for assessing the likelihood for success along EDSA, I believe that we can be expect significant behavioral changes along EDSA. For one, motorcycle riders along Commonwealth have been generally diligent in following the scheme. This can also be expected for most riders using EDSA should the MMDA be strict, firm and fair with their enforcement duties. Meanwhile, drivers of private vehicles have been becoming more aware and respectful of motorcyclists rights of way along Commonwealth and we are hopeful that such will eventually be the case along EDSA, although both enforcement and management will be much more challenging due to the sheer volume of vehicles involved and the more restricted space for traffic flow. It is to be expected that there will be many stubborn private vehicle drivers who even without the motorcycle lane are already encroaching on the bus lanes. Even more challenging will be the behavioral change required of buses given their propensity for reckless driving. I wanted to emphasize behavioral change here because I strongly believe that this is a critical factor for the improvement of traffic and transport in Metro Manila where many issues have roots on driver, rider and pedestrian behavior.
The Gapan-San Fernando-Olongapo Road was often congested along sections passing through populated areas of towns along the highway. Among the busiest (and most congested) was the section in Lubao. This necessitated the eventual construction of a bypass road for travelers to be able to reduce delays caused by various elements including local traffic (e.g., tricycles and pedicabs). The following photos describe the bypass road and the traffic using it.
The bypass road should have been a two-lane, two-way highway with shoulders at either side of the road. The yellow line in the middle of the road may be appropriate to advise against overtaking or passing but the white broken lines should be replaced by solid lines to delineate the shoulders from the traveled way. Yup, that’s a tricycle along a national road.
The highway is elevated probably to prevent flooding (of which the area has lots of experience including the times when lahar was a severe problem in the area). As such, travelers can see the rooftops of a lot of most houses along the highway.
Scene along the highway sections along which is a river. Quarrying for construction materials like sand is quite common and a major source of revenue for many Pampanga towns. Such activities have also been controversial due to the fees charged by the local governments, particularly how these are divided among towns and where these are used.
There are no signs to inform motorists of the presence of this junction at a curved section where the 3-lane road transitions into 4 lanes. This is actually an unsafe location for a junction and requires both geometric and traffic engineering interventions to prevent crashes from occurring.
The chevron signs indicating the curvature of the road section are quite few. Perhaps the highway engineers became too conscious of the controversies elsewhere where there seems to be an abundance and propensity for such signs. The embankment for the highway is visible from the photo.
Lower section of the bypass road with concrete barriers apparently designed for waters to flow through. Notice that the section is not as elevated as the previous ones judging from the rice plantations on either side of the road.
It is clear that the Lubao bypass road has benefited many motorists often hindered by congestion along the GSO road. However, given the opportunity to design a safe highway, it seems that many elements were not satisfied in terms of safety. As such, the bypass road presents us with a high potential for road crashes at present and when traffic eventually increases over time. There are, of course, options that can be implemented to improve the situation along the bypass road and its junctions with the GSO Highway.
It’s been quite sometime since I wrote Part 1 on school traffic generation. I had been unable to get a few photos to describe congestion in another area where school trip generation frequently causes severe traffic congestion. This is along Ortigas Avenue in the Greenhills where another private school generates so many vehicle trips that it is able to clog both sides of the road almost every weekday of the school year. This is the case of La Salle Greenhills (LSGH), which, like Ateneo along Katipunan causes so much negative externalities with respect to traffic along a major thoroughfare.
The problem with La Salle Greenhills is more severe considering it has very limited space in its campus to be able to accommodate parking, unlike Ateneo, which has a sprawling campus (sadly, its being occupied by more cars these days). The result has been cars occupying the curbside lanes along either side of Ortigas Avenue and cars parked on the sidewalks (I have to get photos of these.). This has caused a lot of congestion during the weekdays and has so far been unaddressed by local authorities who seem to be helpless despite the fact that they only need to enforce general traffic rules to rid the streets of parked and standing vehicles. The solution is quite simple but very difficult to implement considering authorities will be up against LSGH. But then, the majority here are not LSGH constituents but the general public who are inconvenienced on a regular basis.
There are 3 median openings (one after the other) under the San Juan-bound overpass from EDSA-Ortigas. One slot is a U-turn slot for vehicles returning to EDSA-Ortigas, while the second is for vehicles turning back to LSGH or the Greenhills shopping district. Another opening is right after the second slot and is for vehicle turning left towards the DOTC main office.
Yes, that’s right – the DOTC main office is located in the area and LTO officers are regularly in the area due to meetings of their officials. It’s a wonder how these seem to be blind to the congestion on the ground. Perhaps the current Secretary should look into this as a test of his commitment to solving transport problems?
The Electric Vehicle Alliance (EVA) and the Partnership for Clean Air (PCA) wrote to the ADB regarding the proposed “reallocation of USD 110 million away from the original stipulation in the approved Country Investment Plan of the Philippines with respect to the Clean Technology Fund (CTF).” The amount will pay for the purchase of about 100,000 electric tricycles, with the intention of having these replace conventional ones currently operating in many Philippine cities and towns. Following is the letter from the EVA and PCA:
Warm greetings!We wish to inform you that the Electric Vehicle Alliance (EVA) represents a broad assembly of private sector organizations involved in vehicle manufacturing and assembly, fleet operations, battery solutions, electricity provision and after-sales servicing, academic institutions, government officials and civil society groups. EVA is spearheading the transition of the country towards a low emission transport regime, particularly through the sustained deployment of electric vehicles.
We wish to inform you that, in principle, EVA supports the aims enunciated by the eTrikes proposal that your office is currently evaluating. We urge your office, however, to postpone decisions over the requested reallocation of USD110 million away from the original stipulaton in the approved Country Investment Plan of the Philippines with respect to the Clean Technology Fund.
We believe further deliberation is warranted in order to correct what may be flaws in the proposal as designed and which can help ensure the genuinely transformational utilization of the CTF.
Among many other reasons, the following deserves serious scrutiny:
1) Country ownership: As documents from the Philippine government will demonstrate, country ownership of the initiative is far from certain. We attach, as an example, a document from the Department of Energy expressly stipulating that this is largely an ADB-driven initiative, a fact that is the subject of public debate at present.
In addition, as the the lead agency that determines climate change policy and operational coherence with regard to Philippine mitigatory and adaptation measures, there has been no formal involvement of the Climate Change Commission in the crafting, much less finalization, of the said proposal. The eTrikes initiative remains under intensive discussion at the National Economic and Development Authority (the Philippine planning authority) as to whether or not it will be included in the Investments Coordination Committee of the country.
2) Lack of government consultations with the private sector, civil society and academe. The Department of Energy itself has stated that it has not undertaken formal consultations with stakeholders to the enterprise, particularly the transport sector and the banking sector. (Using subsidized credit from the CTF the eTrikes project may potentially crowd out commercial banks intent on opening lending windows for e-vehicle financing) and, particularly, the renewable energy industry from whose sector the USD110 million is going to be diverted. No member of the renewable energy industry, in fact, has been consulted over the reallocation of the funds.
3) Design flaws. Unless corrected – which is also the purpose behind the need for quality undertaking of consultations – huge gaps in the project design are likely to have an adverse impact on the long-term success of the transition to low carbon transport in the Philippines. For instance:
* No feasibility study has been presented to sectors that stand to gain from, or be adversely impacted by, the eTrikes proposal. We believe such a brief should actually be the basis for consultations that the Philippine government is obliged to undertake.
* The project unbundles the undertaking into four operational clusters that will be bidded out: motor and controller; battery supply; charging station and chassis/body. It is uncertain if there is a fifth cluster on after-sales service, specifically because is no bidding process for the assembly stage of the operations. This last point particularly invites sticky warranty and legal issues – if there is no aggregator of the different clusters of the project, the question is who will assume liabilities? We hope it is not the Philippine government.
Furthermore, haphazard unbundling may also involve questionable transactions down the road given the size of the undertaking. (A single firm that does not undergo bidding may end up assembling 100,000 E-Trikes that, as the project proponent states, will be given away to “beneficiaries”).
We can identify further concerns but suffice it to say, from the examples cited above, a postponement of decisions by the CTF board is warranted.
We would be pleased to share with you further details about issues that will arise if decisions are made with undue haste.
Thank you for your attention.Signed,Mr. Rene Pineda Jr.President, Partnership for Clean Air, Inc. (PCA)Convenor, Electric Vehicle Alliance (EVA)
Danilo Villas – AMMEO; David Garcia – Atin ‘To; Michael Alunan – Atin ‘To; Atty. Glynda Bathan – CAI-Asia; Bert Fabian – CAI-Asia; Alvin Mejia – CAI-Asia; Dir. Gregorio Tangonan – COMSTE; John Sognco- COMSTE; Engr. Jean Rosete – EMB-DENR; Asec. Cora Davis – DENR; Manny Sabater – DENR; Dir. Zenaida Mendoza – DOE; Arnel Garcia – DOE; Lourdes Capricho – DOE; Dr. Manuel Biona- DLSU; Rey Esguerra – DOST; Cynthia Lazo – DOT; Engr. Terry Galvante Jr. – DOTC; Art Valdez – former DOTC Undersecretary; Yuri Sarmiento – e-jeepney; Sec. Bebet Gozun – Office of the Phil. President; Yvonne Castro – EVAP; Red Constantino – iCSC; Efren Cruz – FPAD; Engr. June Yasol – JAYAREC; Ma. Theresa Calo – Mandaluyong City Office; Rannie De leon – Mandaluyong City Office; Anthony Agoncillo – Meralco; Mack Dizon – Meralco; Melinda Derpo – Meralco; Frank Collantes – Meralco; Jufaleh Constable – Meralco; Annie Reodica – Meralco; Victor Baylosis – Meralco; Carlo Nombres – Meralco; Tessa Oliva – Miriam P.E.A.C.E.; Raquel Naciongayo – MMASBA; Arnold Sarmiento – Motolite; Rhene Borja – Motolite; Abelardo Mendoza – Motolite; Rommel Juan – MVPMAP; Bong Cruz – MVPMAP; Ferdie Raquelsantos – MD Juan Enterprises; John Marasigan – PhUV; John Lee – PhUV; Rene Pineda – PCA; Vicky Segovia – PCA; Aileen Tepace – PCA; Alberto Suansing – SOPI; Jose Regin Regidor – UP-NCTS; Atty. Gia Ibay – WWF; Denise Galvez – WWF; Vince Perez – WWF; Lory Tan – WWF; Elsie de Veyra – ZWRMP
The statement is a clear expression of the stand taken by stakeholders in the e-trike saga. It is also clear that many if not most stakeholders have not been consulted in the rush towards the deployment of 100,000 electric tricycles. While the ADB and the DOE may have meant well in pushing for electric tricycles to replace the conventional ones, railroading e-trikes will cost the fledgling local industries a lot considering the possibility that the electric vehicles will all be imported from China. It should be noted, however, that there has really been little or no success at this stage since the e-trikes that have been donated have only added to the current fleets comprising of legitimate and colorum tricycles. Perhaps in the haste or excitement associated with the potential positive impacts of e-trikes (e.g., low emission transport) on the environment, the bigger picture concerning issues on public transport in Philippine cities and towns has been disregarded. But then this might be understandable since the approach appears to be still mostly from the energy perspective rather than transport’s. It should be emphasized again that the DOTC, as the lead transport agency with a mandate to draw up policy concerning transport in the country, should be active in the discussions and present a clear road map for what transport should be in terms of hierarchy and taking into consideration the relationship between demand and supply. Then perhaps the direction we are taking in relation to low emission transport such as electric vehicles will be a clearer and, not to mention, a straighter one.
I chanced upon an uncongested EDSA one day during noontime along the northbound direction. I was traveling from the airport and saw that my usual route along C5 was very congested. I decided to take EDSA instead considering it was noontime and there would probably be less vehicles along the highway during that time of day. I was right and the following photos speak for themselves in as far as describing traffic between 12:00 NN and 1:00 PM.
Now, if only EDSA and the other main arteries of Metro Manila could be like this more frequently…
When visiting Baguio City, one should never fail to go to Session Road whether to have a meal or just to take walk along the street. It is perhaps the city’s most famous street and a landmark itself where it used to be that a lot about Baguio is going about along Session Road. Here you will find shops, restaurants, bars and other establishments. Since my first time to go to Baguio in 1995, I have seen the city become more crowded and Session Road become more congested. There have been proposals for the street to be pedestrianized but I am unaware of any detailed study concerning pedestrianization and its implications on traffic and commerce in the area. This, I think, should now be among the things Baguio City should look into with more urgency and perhaps a study can be initiated among the universities there, together with the local chapters of planning, architecture and civil engineering societies.
The following article is from the Business Mirror entitled Road Revolution, which appeared in the newspaper’s February 4, 2012 issue:
BAGUIO CITY—Architect Joseph Alabanza keeps a long-held dream: to see Session Road pedestrianized.
As early as 1972, when Alabanza, former head of National Economic and Development Authoriy-Cordillera Administrative Region (Neda-CAR) was head of the city planning office, policies then had pointed out strongly that something had to be done about Session Road as it was predicted to soon become polluted and congested, and lose it aesthetic heritage, being at the heart of the city’s central business district.
A scene that is exactly what Session Road has become.
Then there were not too many cars and the population was much lower than the almost 400,000 mark today, and there was a lack of urgency to control the traffic situation in the city.
In more recent years, as lecturer and consultant of the architecture department of the St. Louis University, his class drafted, as their theses, a layout plan for the streets of the city. The central blueprint was that of Session Road pedestrianized.
Some consultations were made, but this was strongly opposed by business establishments around.
The yearly “Session Road in Bloom,” a market event for Panagbenga (meaning a season of blooming in the Igorot Kankanaey dialect) on Session Road, which stayed closed for a week, was used as a vehicle to test the plan. But it proved to be too hectic and the pedestrian is too heavy to be desirable for a longer period of time.
Even if it seemed that Alabanza’s dream was far from becoming a reality, the glimmer of hope remains as he continuously lamented the continuing deterioration of Session Road—the heavy pollution, the unkempt façades, the heavy traffic, crimes, the insane cat-and-dog chase of the police with sidewalk vendors. Life in the heart of the city was in shambles, but business thrived as usual.
THEN a group of environmental advocates heard of this dream. Something that was a success in Cebu. They came to tell the people of Baguio about their winning game plan in a forum on January 27.
It is called Road Revo—a revolution to change the way people think about the way they transport themselves.
Road Revo is a concept developed by lawyer and environmental activist, Antonio Oposa, a 2009 Ramon Magsaysay awardee in environment.
“We cannot have a Hollywood kind of transportation system, one of individual and expensive mobility. They have eight-lane highways and their roads are like moving parking lots,” he said.
Our insistence at individual mobility has resulted in serious collective mobility, he said.
“Kanya-kanyang galaw kaya lahat di makagalaw [Everybody wants his own way to move that’s why all could not move],” he said, referring to the traffic congestion that has also resulted in serious air and noise pollution.
The road is supposed to be for everyone, that is why Road Revo is for making road use fair. This would mean a turn-around in priorities.
“There’s a need to change mindsets. Road use and policies must have a bias for people, not for cars,” he said.
A World Bank study shows that only 300 out of a thousand own a car in the country. Oposa pointed out that only 3 percent own cars, and they occupy 97 percent of the road, while showing an image of a street jammed with cars in chaos, while people walked on narrow sidewalks.
He said Executive Order 774 specifically cites the new paradigm that the movement of men and cars must follow the principle that “those who have less in wheels must have more in roads,” and that the system must favor nonmotorized transportation and collective transportation.
EO 774 also ordered the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Department of Public Works and Highways to follow the same principle in transforming the road system.
Oposa said that ideally a good public transport system provides 30 percent for all-weather walkways, 30 percent for bicycle lanes, and 30 percent for a greenbelt and what remains would be for cars.
EO 774 also directs all public open spaces along sidewalks and roads no longer needed to be devoted to urban agriculture, something that has been done in Cebu.
“If we could do it in Cebu, so can you,” Oposa said.
Alabanza said that the city has lost its sense of space, referring to walking and open spaces.
“People used to have a sense of belonging here. Now we feel like strangers in our own place,” he said.
Session Road closed: Music, dining on road, sidewalks
AS an experiment, one side of Session Road was closed from 3 p.m. to midnight the day Oposa and his group of environmental activists were in the city on January 27.
And it did happen. Families dined on tables set on the road and sidewalks. Young people were seen just hanging out with one another. Lovers strolled leisurely. Musicians and poets drew a crowd as they beat on their percussions and read poems. Passersby even stopped to do a few dance steps.
For those few hours, the spirit of community was palpable, one of the aims for pedestrianizing Session Road.
Alabanza said that minimizing pollution was one of the first objectives of the proposed road closure as Session Road has become but a passageway for cars and people between the market and the SM Mall on opposite ends. The safety of pedestrians is also compromised as the sidewalks have become too narrow for the crowd who had to walk on parts of the road.
Oposa showed some examples of the ingenious Filipinos’ inventions of environment-friendly modes of transportation. There is the blueprint for a rail bus. There is already a carousel where people pedal to make it run. There is the idea of giving discounts to volunteers who pedal trolleys on train rails. A prototype for a wind-powered bamboo train is on the works, which can run both with an electric motor or the option for pedaling.
“We are a unique place and we cannot but just copy the transportation systems and models of other places,” Alabanza said. The transportation crisis can give rise to opportunities, something that will serve the city well, he said.
OPOSA pointed out that the world is now experiencing so much disasters because of climate change and it becomes everybody’s responsibility to change attitudes about transportation systems, as this is the sector that emits one of the highest volume of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
He reminded that people need to think out of the box and to get out from the inertia of collective insanity, of doing the same thing because everybody else is doing it, no matter how senseless it has become. To illustrate, he said that the bicycle runs on fat and saves you money, while the car runs on money and makes you fat. But all the cars suffering the cost of insurance, stress and productivity lost to traffic jams, loss of a healthier lifestyle indicate that habits are hard to break.
Road Revo will help decrease man’s dependence on oil, restore sense of community, reduce criminality as this allows visibility of one another and, most of all, give people a sense of belonging and owning the space which is a secret tip to keeping it clean.
Oposa is on a nationwide campaign to promote Road Revo. Pasig City opened a road for a day on July 8 last year and Ongpin Street in Binondo became a festival road for the Chinese New Year celebration. After Baguio, Oposa will do the rounds in Subic, Dumaguete, Marikina, Davao and Puerto Princesa.
Alabanza’s dream may not even happen in his lifetime, but the wisdom of keeping the air clean, of enlivening the spirit of community and giving importance to people rather than cars has been sown in the few hours of not closing Session Road but opening it for people.
Perhaps pedestrianization will be more beneficial to the stakeholders of Session Road. It would not be an easy task to convince people that a car-free session road will be the way to go. There probably would also be other options, even a middle ground between status quo and pedestrianization. But doing nothing and letting Session deteriorate further is surely unacceptable to most people.
Among the issues raised during the Philippine presidential elections in 2010 was the persistent and widespread graft and corruption in government. Candidates had to present their platforms and emphasize how they were going to address graft and corruption in the various agencies in all branches of government (executive, legislative and judicial). The slogan of one candidate was “Sipag at Tiyaga,” which translated into “hard-working and persevering.” A play was made on this, transforming the slogan into “C5 at Taga,” referring to the road and an allusion to someone getting a cut (benefited) from the funds. The allusion, of course, was to the same candidate. Objectively speaking, however, the extension of the road made sense because C5 practically terminated at the South Luzon Expressway where a ramp connects it to the tollway. However, the project failed to construct a link (perhaps an overpass) connecting the extension to the existing alignment on the other side of the tollway. The following photos were taken during one recon survey conducted by our staff for another development project in the area.
The C5 Extension is accessible from its southernmost end from the Coastal Expressway (aka CavitEx) or Aguinaldo Highway (from Bacoor, Cavite) and the Alabang-Zapote Road in Las Pinas. Lane widths and pavement markings follow DPWH standards and the road is apparently well-illuminated given the lamps installed along the highway.
The road didn’t seem to follow any particular or deliberate alignment. The vacant lands on either side of C5 extension is allegedly owned by the real estate companies associated with Sen. Villar. However, at the time the photos were taken (early 2011) there were no major developments associated with these real estate companies in the area.
There is generally light traffic along the road with few trucks. One can often observe many speeding vehicles including motorcycles. The pavement markings are already weathered despite the light traffic and is probably indicative of the quality of the material used.
Curvatures along the highway alignment have been interpreted as accommodations for the owners of the lands along the road. Some experts say that such curvature, which can be clearly seen from maps such Google’s are unnecessary.
There are 2 overpasses in this photo. One is a pedestrian overpass for the mall, which has two buildings on either side of the highway. Another is a vehicular overpass (flyover) at the highway’s intersection with Sucat Road. There are service roads on either side of the main alignment for vehicles traveling between C5 and Sucat Road. Visible in the photo (center) are residential condominium buildings of a major developer.
The vehicular overpass does not include pedestrian sidewalks or access. Such are actually necessary considering facilities like this flyover should not be for motorists only but for other travelers as well.
Seen from the northbound-side of the overpass is a wide area used by the El Shaddai religious group for their activities. These areas are usually seen by passengers of aircraft approaching NAIA from the east as these are along the flightpath to the main runway.
Among the logistics facilities in the area is mall giant SM’s warehouse facility. Note again the curvature along the highway alignment despite the fact that there are practically no developments in the area even after a significant time after the extension’s completion.
The vehicles turning left are bound for the Airport Road via the road fronting the Multinational Village at the end of NAIA’s main runway. Straight ahead is the Kaingin Road that connects to the Moonwalk/Merville Access Roads that end at the West Service Road along SLEX.
The C5 Extension’s other end starts from Kaingin Road, which is parallel to the NAIA main runway. The fence on the left is NAIA’s and there is no physical connection between the Extension and C5 across the SLEX.