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Bike lanes at the UP Diliman campus – Part 1

I had first read about the enhanced bike lanes at the UP Diliman Academic Oval last month from a social media post of a friend. She was present as the delineations of the jogging and cycling lanes were being painted along with the baybayin marks distinguishing UP’s bike lanes from others like it. UP’s bike lanes predate the current ones around Metro Manila that mostly popped-up during the pandemic.

The Academic Oval road original had two-way traffic along its wide carriageway, that could easily fit 4 lanes. Since it became a one-way, counterclockwise road, the lanes had been divided into 3 wide lanes with one lane initially committed to bicycles.

Here are the two lanes designated for joggers/walkers (curbside) and cyclists (median). The pedestrian sidewalk was originally planned to be widened in time for UP’s Centennial celebration back in 2008. That did not materialize. The Academic Oval could have had wider sidewalks for those who are not walking for exercise.

The section in front of Melchor Hall features the words bicycles or bike lane and pedestrian in baybayin. Its certainly a novelty for now and something probably apt for the campus roads but not necessarily for others.

A closer look at the baybayin script along the jogging/walking and bike lanes.

Here’s the bigger picture on the pavement markings.

Approach to an intersection 

The UP colors inform riders about the intersection ahead. These are more visual as they are flat and not rumble strips. The older pavement markings advising riders of the speed limit should be seen in the context of utilitarian cycling (e.g., bike to work, bike to school) rather than cycling for fitness or recreation, which obviously may involve higher speeds and is frowned upon along the oval.

The intersection approach from another angle.

The Academic Oval bike lane is one of the original recommendations of a transport study conducted for the campus about 17 years ago. The study was the basis for the campus being declared as a road safety zone, which among others included a provision for its roads to have a 30-kph speed limit. The one-way counter-clockwise traffic circulation and the jogging and bike lanes, however, are officially a part of what has become a long-term experiment on campus. There are many who oppose the one-way scheme and are vehement against the ultimate plan to have the Academic Oval car-free or car-less (it is mostly car-less during Sundays – part of the “experiment”).

The other new bike lanes on campus in Part 2 of this series.

Public Transport Recommendations of the UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team

Here are the recommendations of UP COVID-19 Pandemic Response Team: “Effective Reactivation of Public Transport Operations for the New Normal through an Information Exchange Platform for Collaborative Governance”

Aerial photo: Diliman, Quezon City

The aircraft we were flying on in a recent trip circled on the approach to NAIA and we were afforded some terrific opportunities to take aerial shots of Quezon City. This was before the rains of the Christmas holidays so the skies were clear of clouds. Here is one of the photos I took showing the University of the Philippines Diliman campus.

That wide road on the left is Commonwealth Avenue and you can see part of the Elliptical Road at the bottom left. There are few large patches of green in Metro Manila and many are in the largest city – Quezon City. You can see that these include the campus and Balara.

Aerial photos are no longer that rare these days as there are many who take shots from drones. Then, of course, there are shots like these you can take from the plane you’re riding. Have a nice Sunday!

Introducing the New Director of the National Center for Transportation Studies

The National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS) of the University of the Philippines Diliman has a new Director. Dr Ma. Sheilah G. Napalang of the School of Urban and Regional Planning (SURP) succeeds Dr Hilario Sean O. Palmiano of the College of Engineering. Dr Napalang becomes the 5th Director of the NCTS since the latter’s transformation from the Transport Training Center (TTC) in the early 1990s, not counting the two OICs over that period.

NCTS turnover 2016Dr. Napalang receives the symbolic key from Dr Palmiano

Dr Napalang was a former top senior technical staff of the NCTS before she joined the faculty of SURP after a short stint at the Asian Institute of Tourism (AIT) of the same university. Prior to joining UP, she was a faculty member and former Chair of the Department of Civil Engineering of Xavier University in Cagayan De Oro City in Mindanao. Dr Napalang obtained her B.S. Civil Engineering degree at Xavier University, her master’s at Virginia Tech in the US, and her doctorate at Tokyo Tech in Japan. She has done work on sustainable transport and the viability of transport systems. She has also contributed to the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project and the formulation of the National Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST) Strategy. Her most recent publications are:

  • Challenges of Urban Transport Development in Metro Manila: A look back at the last 40 years (lead author)
  • State of Pavement Engineering in the Philippines and Implications on the Economic Life of National Roads (lead author)

These papers were presented at the recent 11th International Conference of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies (EASTS) held in Cebu City last September 2015.

Congratulations to Dr. Napalang for her new appointment, and thank you to Dr. Palmiano for his contributions as NCTS Director!

A new Director of the National Center for Transportation Studies

I learned a couple of days ago that there will be a new Director at the National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS) at the University of the Philippines in Diliman soon. The new Director will be Dr. Ma. Sheilah G. Napalang who is a tenured faculty member of the university’s School of Urban and Regional Planning. She is to be the first woman head of the center, which used to be called the Transport Training Center that was created in the 1970s as part of the Japanese Government’s technical assistance to the Government of the Philippines to increase capacity and capability in transportation planning, engineering and management. Dr. Napalang will be the first Director from SURP since 2001 (since that time, all Directors were from the College of Engineering). She was a former senior technical staff of the NCTS before she joined the SURP and obtained her advanced degrees from the US (masters’ at Virginia Tech) and Japan (Dr. Eng. at Tokyo Tech).

More on this development and perhaps the turnover once everything is final and formalized.