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Another look at Marcos Highway overpasses – Part 3

The overpass at SM City Marikina is a bit more complex than what it looks like across the bridge. Here are some photos of the footbridge connecting the mall with the Santolan Station of Line 2:

img_3460The overpass is a very long one and provides users with a partially covered walkway connecting to the LRT Line 2 Santolan Station. I say ‘partially’ because the roof over the overpass extends only across Marcos Highway.

img_3461Note the covered bridge is only until the other side of Marcos Highway. From there it is an open overpass as shown at the left in the photo above.

img_3462A closer look at the SM Marikina overpass shows just where the cover ends. There are stairs here leading to the loading/unloading bays across from the mall. There is also a path that leads to stairs to the public transport terminal under the bridge. There is a sign with a blue background in the photo stating the terminal is named after a former MMDA Chair who was also a mayor of Marikina and currently one of its congressmen.

Another look at Marcos Highway pedestrian overpasses – Part 2

I purposely didn’t include the overpasses at and near the Masinag Junction because I felt they deserved their own article. For one, the area will be the location of the future end station of the current LRT Line 2 Extension project. Here are a couple of photos of the overpasses in the area.

img_3278Overpass at SM City Masinag – note the tall columns for the elevated tracks of Line 2. Will the Masinag Station be located that high or will it be at a lower level, perhaps closer to the SM City overpass?

The overpass at SM City Masinag is something that has been replicated in many other locations where an SM mall has been constructed. Note the similarity of the situation with the likes of SM City Iloilo, SM City Novaliches where SM built pedestrian facilities to allow for safe crossings between the mall and the area across from it along the highway. In many cases, it is the mall which provided the overpass in coordination with the local government unit and, I assume, the DPWH.

img_3279Overpasses at Masinag Junction – there are actually 4 bridges here, each spanning one leg of the junction.

One of the intents for these is to eliminate at-grade pedestrian crossings at the junction. While crossing have been reduced significantly, there are still many “pasaway” who cross even when there is a green light for vehicular traffic along the leg they are crossing. Traffic enforcers here are quite lax about this and don’t seem to put in an effort to inform people about the overpass. There is no excuse for those who might claim they are too old or weak to climb the steps since the overpass has 4 working elevators for those unable to make the stairs. I noticed though that most of those using the elevators are able bodied people who probably are just too lay to take the stairs.

Roads to Baguio: Marcos Highway – Part 3

Still on Marcos Highway, the following photos complete this feature from my most recent trip to a city dubbed as the summer capital of the Philippines. This is the third part of the series on this major road to/from Baguio City, and sections pretty much show very similar characteristics as the previous ones in the preceding posts. Its been a while since the Part 2 of this series and since then, an additional section of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) has been opened further cutting down travel time between Manila and Baguio to 4 hours.

2016-06-11 11.35.11We start with a series of curves. Here is a section complete with signs and markings to guide and protect road users.

2016-06-11 11.35.40The approach to this curve reveals the uneven terrain on which the road was built.

2016-06-11 11.36.04These row houses and their driveways seem too close to the road

2016-06-11 11.37.41That’s a poorly placed driveway right in the middle of the curve

2016-06-11 11.38.02Many motorists tend to overtake slower moving vehicles via the opposing traffic lane. Here is a bus undertaking a passing maneuver at a curve!

2016-06-11 11.38.19Rockslide – these are frequent along mountain roads such as Marcos Highway. They are even more frequent along Kennon Road and Naguilian Highway.

2016-06-11 11.38.38Yet another section this time showing a reverse curve.

2016-06-11 11.38.58Here are a few more of the big bikes we encountered on our trip down from Baguio. These are of the same group of bikers in Parts 1 and 2.

2016-06-11 11.39.29Many sections of Marcos Highway have excellent sight distance and have usable, paved shoulders.

2016-06-11 11.40.06There is significant truck traffic along Marcos Highway. These, especially the loaded ones, often slow down traffic. In certain cases, trucks form platoons making it difficult to pass them.

2016-06-11 11.40.35I was not surprised to see a school along the highway since there are many communities along the road. This is a good example of standard signs and markings including a pedestrian crossing.

2016-06-11 11.40.57The curve is not a good location for a home.

2016-06-11 11.41.20The pavement at this section is intriguing as the road seems to have had a different orientation in the past. I suspect this was formerly a paved bay (for emergency stops or for loading/unloading passengers) in what used to be an unpaved shoulder.

2016-06-11 11.41.31The position of this driveway is quite risky and motorists from both the highway and the driveway will be blind to each other.

2016-06-11 11.42.01The section shows also what looks like a bay along the inner (left in the photo) side of the highway. Note that the shoulder is rather narrow along the ridge-side (right).

2016-06-11 11.43.10Curve sections like this offer picturesque views but are actually are treacherous. The barriers are supposed to prevent vehicles from ‘flying’ out of the highway. Their designs should arrest large, heavy vehicles that may lose control and collide with the barriers.

2016-06-11 11.43.17Marcos Highway offers many breathtaking views and excellent sight distance along many portions.

2016-06-11 11.43.31This is the final stretch of Marcos Highway that terminates at the intersection with the Manila North Road, which is part of AH-26.

Roads to Baguio: Marcos Highway – Part 2

To open September, I continue on the feature on Marcos Highway. Following are more photos I took on our way back to Manila from a short vacation in Baguio.

2016-06-11 11.27.46Many sections of Marcos Highway have some form of protection against landslides or rock slides. Note the concrete faces fences along the left in the photo.

2016-06-11 11.28.23There are many structures along the highway including houses and stores

2016-06-11 11.28.28The mountain limits sight distance along curves like this.

2016-06-11 11.28.40We encountered this group of motorcyclists heading up to Baguio on what appeared to be what is termed as “big bikes”, that typically are the more expensive ones, too. Other photos in this series will show these motorcycles. I lost count of them while we were traveling the opposite direction. 

2016-06-11 11.29.28This seems to be a popular stop for hungry travelers. The location though and its driveway are not at all desirable from the highway engineering perspective.

2016-06-11 11.29.36Combination of signs to guide motorists along this sharp curve.

2016-06-11 11.29.45Curved sections like this one offer breathtaking views of the mountains.

2016-06-11 11.29.55Shoulders may function as space for emergency stops including for breakdowns or changing tires. Full shoulders allow for stopped vehicles to be completely clear of the traveled way. That is, they don’t pose as obstacles that traffic would need to evade.

2016-06-11 11.30.37More examples of poorly located establishments along a curve

2016-06-11 11.30.52The road seems to disappear in the mountains

2016-06-11 11.31.15Another home along the highway and right at one of the curves. This one seems to be wisely located behind the barriers though its pretty obvious where their driveway is located.

2016-06-11 11.32.45Conspicuous location for a religious site along the highway

2016-06-11 11.32.57More motorcyclists and their big bikes

2016-06-11 11.33.36Barriers along both side of the highway seem sturdy enough to keep vehicles from flying off the road in case their drivers/riders lose control. This section offers enough to satisfy sight distance requirements and noticeably does not feature double yellows like the other photos in this post.

2016-06-11 11.33.54A residential community along the highway including this big house just clear of the shoulder.

2016-06-11 11.34.03Another community including a home atop the mountain. The barriers appear to be newly constructed along with the PCC paved shoulders. These would have to be painted for them to be visible to motorists especially at night-time or when visibility is poor.

More photos of Marcos Highway soon!

LRT Line 2 issues: elevated tracks vs pedestrian overpasses

The ongoing construction of the LRT Line 2 Extension has reached a point where it is clear that several pedestrian overpasses will be affected by the project. Following are photos of overpasses between Angel Tuazon Ave./Felix Ave. and Masinag. Most are clearly along the  elevated superstructure of the Line Extension and will have to be redesigned if not removed. Some are relatively new and so brings some questions whether those behind the overpasses coordinated with the proponents of the Line 2 Extension project.

Line 2 v overpassThe practically new pedestrian overpass near the Vermont Royale subdivision gate will have to be redesigned to give way to Line 2’s elevated tracks. This is the view along the westbound side of Marcos Highway. Hopefully, the design will not be similar to the somewhat awkward and, some say, ‘people-unfriendly’ designs of overpasses along EDSA due to the MRT 3 tracks.

IMG_1222Here’s a view of the same overpass from the eastbound side of Marcos Highway.

IMG_1223Another overpass that will have to be dismantled from the looks of the columns currently under construction is the one near the Filinvest East gate.

IMG_1224The overpass across from SM Masinag may also have to go but since there will be a stations to be constructed in this area, there is an opportunity to integrate the pedestrian walkway with the elevated station.

I will try to take photos of other overpasses between Santolan and Sta. Lucia that may be affected by the construction of the Line 2 extension. The ones across Robinsons Metro East and De La Paz though might be integrated with the station that is to be constructed in the area. This would be similar to the SM Masinag overpass, which will presumably be integrated with the Masinag Station of the Line 2 extension.

Line 2 Extension construction at full swing

The construction of the LRT Line 2 Extension from Santolan, Pasig City to Masinag, Antipolo City is now in full swing. The contractor, DM Consunji, Inc., has occupied several lanes of Marcos Highway and the reduced capacity of the highway has led to moderate to severe congestion along sections from Ligaya to Masinag. At certain times, construction work required more space than the 2 lanes usually occupied by construction equipment and materials. Following are a few photos of the project showing various stages in the construction of the Line 2 extension.

IMG_0803Section in front of SM Masinag also showing the pedestrian overpass across Marcos Highway

IMG_0804Section in front of Vermont Royal Executive Village also showing a newly constructed pedestrian overpass that looks like it will be cleared by the elevated tracks.

IMG_0805Columns under construction along Marcos Highway across from Golden Meadows Subdivision.

IMG_0806Columns completed and under construction across Town & Country Executive Village – the photo also shows another pedestrian overpass but from the completed column its clear that modifications aren’t needed for the overpass.

IMG_0807Construction at the current end of the elevated tracks at Santolan, Pasig City

Construction works are expected to go on for at least a year before the trains can start test runs along the new tracks. This is definitely going to be a game changer in terms of commuting along this corridor once the extension becomes operational and hopefully DOTC is already planning an extension further towards Cogeo or perhaps branch out to Marikina via Sumulong Highway.

Trip cutting with respect to the LRT Line 2

Trip cutting is one of the undesirable behaviors of public utility vehicle drivers. It is most common with jeepneys and UV Express than with buses.

The findings of the study completed by our students last June 2015 are the following:

  • It was proven that trip-cutting behavior is a common practice by both jeepney and UV Express drivers with routes along Marcos Highway and Aurora Boulevard, covering parts of Pasig City, Marikina City and Quezon City.
  • The underlying factors involving trip-cutting behavior by PUV drivers were found to be the following:
    • Jeepneys and UV Express unload most of their passengrs during peak hours at the LRT Santolan and Katipunan Stations – there was a higher likelihood for passengers to ride the Line 2 from these stations to their destinations including Cubao and the University belt. A lot of passengers are students and trying to keep their schedules. Road transport can be very unpredictable and the trains offer more reliable travel times.
    • Drivers can maximize profit by having shorter trips and at the same time having passengers at full capacity – jeepney and UV express drivers unloading most of their passengers at the stations and turning around there (i.e., cutting their trips) means they avoid the congestion along Aurora Boulevard and faster turnarounds translate to their being able to carry more passengers thereby earning more revenues.
  • It was observed that the top trip-cutting routes for PUVs along Marcos Highway and Aurora Boulevard are as follows:
    • For jeepney vehicles:
      • Cogeo – Cubao and Antipolo – Cubao routes in relation to the LRT Santolan Station;
      • Calumpang – Cubao and SSS Village – Cubao routes in relation to the LRT Katipunan Station.
    • For UV Express vehicles:
      • SSS Village – Cubao and Cogeo – Cubao routes in relation to the LRT Santolan Station;
      • Marikina – Cubao and Rodriguez/Montalban – Cubao routes in relation to the LRT Katipunan Station.

The following recommendations were made in relation to the findings of the study:

  • Route modification of top trip-cutting routes to take into account the realities with respect to the current demand.
  • Study on supply of PUVs with respect to the Cubao terminal station in relation to trip-cutting violations.
  • In the future, when the construction of the LRT Line 2’s Masinag and Emerald stations is completed, it is recommend to that further route modifications be made relative to these new stations.

Such studies are important especially in light of the construction of railway lines including this case of the extension of Line 2 from Santolan, Pasig to Masinag, Antipolo. There is an opportunity here for the rationalization of jeepney routes to complement the obviously higher capacity and more efficient trains of Line 2. Rationalization here translates to the shortening of jeepney routes with many units terminating at Line 2 stations. ‘Cogeo-Cubao’ jeepneys would become Cogeo-Masinag jeepneys while ‘Antipolo-Cubao’ jeepneys will become either ‘Antipolo-Masinag’ or ‘Antipolo-Emerald’ jeepneys. A Masinag route end would apply to ‘Antipolo-Cubao via Sumulong Highway’ jeepneys while the Emerald route end would apply to ‘Antipoli-Cubao via Junction’ PUJs. Such will reduce the travel distances covered by the jeepneys as well as reduce their travel and turnaround times. Also, such a rationalization will lead to a better structured public transport system following a hierarchy among modes.