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Metro Manila Skybridge: for cars or bicycles?

June 2016
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I was browsing over a not so old, pre-election issue of Top Gear magazine and came upon an article that featured then Senatorial candidate and already former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Francis Tolentino. The article stated the former MMDA Chair’s frustration that his pet project didn’t get approval from NEDA. The Skybridge he was proposing was basically an elevated road that was to be built on top of Metro Manila rivers. This is in part to save on RROW costs and supposedly to also reduce traffic impacts of construction (note the traffic congestion due to the Skyway Stage 3 construction).

I think that such a Skybridge could have had a positive impact on traffic congestion but for a short time only. The sheer number of vehicles in Metro Manila will only lead to congestion elsewhere being transferred here and, under equilibrium conditions that will eventually be attained as some time in the near future, will ultimately be congested. The concept of tollways is for people to pay for the use of a facility in return for high level of service (read: faster travel). Skyways and other elevated highways cost a lot and the NEDA probably didn’t see a free use elevated structure like the Skybridge having much in terms of ROI.

There is, however, something that may be worth it in terms of potential congestion reduction as well as enhancement of traffic safety and quality of life – a Skybridge for bicycles and pedestrians. This should encourage people to cycle as travel via such mode will be much safer and could possibly be faster. Friends and acquaintances who are cyclists often post about similar facilities in Europe and how these are able to reduce congestion as people opt to cycle and leave their cars at home during the weekdays.

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