The Streets of Bacolod: Around the Public Plaza
The streets surrounding the Bacolod Public Plaza are one-way streets following a counter-clockwise circulation around the plaza. Typical of plazas of old, the latter has around it the church (in this case San Sebastian Cathedral), the old city hall, commercial establishments, the police headquarters, and a major school (La Consolacion College). The following photos were actually taken a year ago in February 2012. I doubt if much has changed since then but the circulation and traffic situation should practically be the same give and take the normal traffic growth due to progress for the capital city of Negros Occidental.
Intersection of San Juan St. and Gonzaga St. (view along San Juan St. towards southwest)
Intersection of San Juan St. and Luzuriaga St. (view from east corner of intersection towards Westown Hotel)
Roadside parking along San Juan St. Noticeable above are the motorcycle parked along the road, with some occupying pedestrian crossing space.
Old cities like Bacolod have buildings featuring arcades like this where pedestrians have the ROW and are sheltered from the elements. I was glad to see that the city basically cleared these facilities from obstacles. It is not entirely without impediments though as shown in the photo.
Luzuriaga Street (view towards southeast)
Arcade of Plaza Mart building along Gonzaga Street and across from the Bacolod Public Plaza (view towards Araneta Ave. and Gatuslao Street)
Another view of the arcade of Plaza Mart, this time along San Juan Street (towards Luzuriaga St.)
San Juan Street (view from the corner at Gonzaga Street) – at right is the Plaza
Gonzaga Street (view at corner of the Plaza along San Juan Street) – vehicles downstream are at the intersection of Gonzaga St. and Araneta Ave. Further downstream is Gatuslao Street
Rizal Street taken from the plaza side and featuring San Sebastian Cathedral
Rizal Street leads to SM City Bacolod, which is found in the reclamation area. (View from the intersection of Rizal St. with San Juan Street)
Steel barriers along Rizal Street prevent vehicles crossing the street from the northeast side of San Juan St. All traffic must turn right towards SM. (view from the corner of San Juan and Rizal along San Juan towards the southwest direction) The PNP headquarters is the building on the opposite corner with the blue roof.
Intersection of San Juan Street and Luzuriaga Street (view along San Juan St. towards southwest)
San Juan-Luzuriaga intersection (view from Westown Hotel corner)
San Juan-Luzuriaga intersection (view along Luzuriaga St. towards southeast)
Luzuriaga Street is also a one-way street and with significant roadside parking as shown in the left side of the photo. View of traffic coming from the intersection with San Juan St. Westown Hotel is the building at left.
The circulation scheme at the plaza seems to be working out well at the time. This is despite the proliferation of roadside parking along the streets and around the plaza. The streets are relatively wide and so a one-way scheme works well in terms of taking advantage of the capacities of the streets while allowing for curbside parking that typically occupies one lane of road space as shown in the photos above. We didn’t see anyone charging parking fees for the vehicles and so we assume that these are practically free though we did see some informal “watch-your-car” boys who rely on tips from those parking along the road. Ultimately, though, the city should look into the provision off-street parking facilities as I can imagine traffic congestion, for example, in the vicinity of San Sebastian Cathedral on Sundays. Traffic in the area should be expected to increase as the city continues to experience economic growth and more developments ultimately locate at the reclamation area.