Caught (up) in traffic

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Manila East Road

July 2012
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The Manila East Road is located in the province of Rizal to the east of Metro Manila. The section of the highway featured in this post connects the towns of Taytay and Angono in the province of Rizal while also in the vicinity of Antipolo City, Cainta and Binangonan. References will tell us that the road actually stretches all the way to Laguna where it passes through the towns of Pangil, Pakil and Paete along the east coast of the Laguna de Bay and continues through more towns of Laguna until Calamba.

The following photos were taken one rainy afternoon while we were listening to the radio about senators giving their individual verdicts on the first article of impeachment for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. While there are rain drops visible in the photos, these did not obscure the view of the highway allowing us to take good enough shots to illustrate the stretch of the road from Angono to Taytay (junction with Ortigas Avenue Extension (R-5) and just before the ascent to Antipolo). It is supposed to be part of Radial Road 5 or R-5 but other references also point to the continuation of Ortigas Extension through Antipolo and Teresa as also part of R-5. These roads eventually converge in the town of Morong, Rizal.

Descending from an exclusive resort where we just had a workshop hosted by a national government agency, we traveled along a section that was a 4-lane undivided road being widened to have 3 lanes per direction. While there’s a sidewalk on one side, the other side did not have pedestrian facilities.

The section, it turns out, is a continuation of what was already a 6-lane highway as shown above.

The 6-lane section, however, constricts into 4-lanes near the junction to the original road passing through Angono town proper. Pavement conditions were good but most markings have faded or non-existent.

Typical of rural highways around the country, there is a proliferation of tricycles traveling along the Manila East Road. These often cause congestion due to their operations including having informal terminals along the highway.

The lack of pavement markings can be a source of confusion for motorists who are not guided and would have the tendency to encroach into the paths of other vehicles.

Rather simple sign to mark the boundary between Angono and Taytay. Elsewhere, there would have been an arch designed and put up by one of the towns and reflecting its character or showing off products or attractions.

Shanties and other structures of informal settlers line up along this section of the road, effectively constricting traffic. This is supposed to be a 4-lane section (perhaps more if we check the RROW) but roadside friction including the presence of roadside parking and informal structures reduce space to about 3 lanes as shown in the photo.

Most properties along the stretch of the highway seem unaware of building code provisions for pedestrian sidewalks and clearance in front of the building. These are matters that should have been inspected and ensured by local government.

Taytay is one of the more densely populated towns of Rizal and would probably already qualify for cityhood ahead of many other LGUs that became cities in the last few years despite having shaky incomes among other qualifications. Land use planning, however, does not look like something that was undertaken for much of the areas adjacent to the highway.

Pedestrians practically cross anywhere along the highway, with most like the man with a child in the photo seemingly uncaring about the risks posed by motor vehicles. In the case above, there are no pedestrian crossing signs or markings but in places where there are such designations people rarely follow the zebra crossings mainly out of ignorance and partly out of stubbornness.

Along one section, the road widens and has along the Ortigas-bound side (right in the photo) a 2-lane service road separate from the main carriageway by a narrow concrete island. The service road is also plagued by parking though its purpose seems to be that for loading and unloading of passengers.

Electric posts are located dangerously close to the road and would probably fall over if hit by a wayward vehicle. Such is probably the result of road-widening and shortcomings with coordination with the utility company as well as some fault, too, with the utility company as well.

Another section with excellent pavement conditions but no pavement markings.

There are short bridges along the highway due to the streams that run across the road from the mountains in the east to the general direction of Laguna De Bay and the Manggahan Floodway to the west. These bridges also tend to limit the width of the carriageway as shown in the photo.

After the bridge, the road widens back to 4 lanes and complete with standard markings. For the entire length of the road from Angono to Taytay there is a trend, based on our observations, that sections alternately widen and narrow based on the developments on either side of the road.

On-street mayhem is when you mix different kinds of vehicles and pedestrians on the road in the Philippines.

What is supposed to be a 4-lane road seems like a 2-lane carriageway because of some delineations missing and vehicle tending to hog the equivalent of 2 lanes like the vehicle in front of us.

Junction with A. Bonifacio Ave (from Imelda Ave. and the Cainta Junction). A. Bonifacio passes through the town centers of Cainta and Taytay but is usually a very congested road having a narrow 4-lane carriageway that’s effectively a 2-lane road. The Manila East Road effectively bypasses that road. Notice that after the junction, the road markings are all there.

Curve right after the junction

This section has a total of 8 lanes based on the pavement markings but effectively has only 6 as the outermost lanes are often occupied by parked vehicles or used by pedestrians in the absence of sidewalks along either side of the highway.

Pedestrian bridge between two buildings comprising the SM City Taytay. People have a tendency to cross at street-level so to force them to use the overpass, barriers were placed along the median. The barriers seem to be quite porous and I only wonder if anti-jaywalking policies are enforced in the area.

An 8-lane stretch of the highway featuring a covered court with the name of a provincial politician stamped on its roof. This section used to have only 4 lanes with some shoulder space on either side of the highway. The  DPWH and the local government had a measure of success in recovering land from encroachments and easing informal settlers off from the RROW, something that should probably be undertaken but which requires much more effort along sections shown in the previous photos.

Road widening was still being implemented along the Ortigas-bound side of the highway when we passed through. There was no congestion though since the carriageway was wide enough to carry the light traffic during the early afternoon.

The 8-lane section narrows to the equivalent of 6 lanes though the pavement markings seem to indicate only 4 lanes as shown in the photo. Already visible in the photo downstream of our position is the Tikling Junction – the intersection of the Manila East Road with Ortigas Avenue.

Approach to Ortigas Avenue Extension and Leonard Wood Road (which is to the left just before the intersection with Ortigas)

Junction with Ortigas Avenue Extension


2 Comments

  1. Thank you for documenting and assessing the current road condition of the major road to and from our town, Angono. The various observations you make like informal structures and illegal parking and terminal are concerns of daily commuters suffering from traffic usually during rush hour. These issues are also present or even worse in the Manggahan Floodway, another major road connecting Angono to Metro Manila. Hopefully, this will be an eye-opener to all concerned local government officials responsible for these roads.

    • d0ctrine says:

      Thanks for your comments. I believe we should take a proactive stance in as far as advocating for improvements in our transport system. The blog partly serves that purpose.

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