Caught (up) in traffic

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Mobility for all?

November 2012
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We chanced upon the fellow shown driving an electric vehicle below with what was apparently his wheelchair mounted behind the vehicle. And then I remembered seeing other people in wheelchairs traveling along the traffic lanes of similar streets, and exposed to the high risks of being sideswiped or bumped by motor vehicles. These and other persons with disabilities (PWDs) are among what we usually categorize as transportation poor or those who are marginalized when traveling. Marginalization comes in many forms including the lack of or inadequate infrastructure and facilities for PWDs. Sidewalks are usually narrow, making it difficult even for able people to use, and definitely inaccessible to persons needing the space to move about.

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I remember that Tahanang Walang Hagdanan (translated Home without stairs or steps)  is located in Cainta, Rizal. We used to see PWDs on their wheelchairs traveling along Bonifacio Avenue in the poblacion to go to church on Sundays. Often, jeepneys, buses and cars come very close to them that you might wince at the near misses of what could easily be a tragedy just waiting to happen given the odd mix of people on wheelchairs mixed with motorized traffic along the carriageway. The local government should have exerted more efforts to put up facilities adequate for the needs of pedestrians in general and PWDs in particular; the latter considering the significant number of constituents requiring such facilities. On a map, you can even see that Tahanang Walang Hagdanan is just beside the Cainta Local Government Complex. I believe the provision of basic facilities to enhance the safety and mobility of PWDs is just one example of what a city or town should be doing towards realizing inclusive transport or inclusive mobility at their level. It would definitely go far in promoting people friendly, sustainable transport for all.


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