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On pedestrian overpasses again

December 2012
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Pedestrian overpasses in Metro Manila are of various designs. The older ones are mostly concrete structures that were not designed to consider the needs of senior citizens or persons with disabilities (PWDs). Often the stairs are relatively steep and each step can be quite high. More recent ones, particularly those constructed by the MMDA in the last administration were steel structures. The first generation where constructed similarly as their concrete versions, with little consideration to the elderly and the physically-challenged. Many of these  overpasses even got flak from women’s groups as the steps featured slits through which women can be taken advantage of by peeping toms. And so some of the “offending” overpasses had their stairs retrofitted to provide some cover for people using these facilities.

A good feature of more recent overpasses constructed has been ramps that allow easier access by persons with disabilities and cyclists. Most new overpasses in Metro Manila also have less steeper stairs and others even have landings to allow people to have some pause while climbing up or down the overpass. Following are a few photos of overpasses along Marcos Highway including one connecting a major shopping mall to the LRT Line 2 Santolan Station.

Overpass along Marcos Highway in Pasig City featuring a ramp that can also be used by cyclists and persons with disabilities.

“Conventional” overpass along Marcos Highway – there are no ramps but the stairs are not as steep as the older ones.

Overpass connecting a major shopping mall to the LRT Line 2 Santolan Station

While such overpasses are necessary along wide roads with heavy motor vehicle traffic, similar facilities are not usually recommended for narrower streets where motorized traffic is manageable. There are discussions now that call for pedestrians to have the right of way along streets. Such discussions have basis given pedestrians attempting to cross at designated areas (definitely not the jaywalkers) have difficulty crossing as motor vehicles disregard them, with some seemingly attempting to sideswipe people (nananadya?). The rule should be that once a pedestrian steps on the pavement at a zebra crossing or crosswalk, vehicles should give way to them. Many drivers and riders are oblivious to this rule and it is not enforced by the MMDA or police. They should, in order to effect behavior change in motorists and to ensure the safety of pedestrians.


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