Traffic is a major concern for all commuters both public and private as well as businesses and the government. It should be, after all, it drains us and our economy of valuable resources of time, fuel, productivity, and the immeasurable unhealthy consequences of air pollution and stress. It is nice to know that solutions in the horizon are being worked on such as skyways, connector roads, subways and other mass transport systems, but all of these things do take time.
However, I believe that if the government really wanted to, it can drastically reduce traffic imme-diately. First is the total removal of road and sidewalk obstructions as the President has recently ordered. The road should be for vehicles and the sidewalks should be for the pedestrians. These public resources should not be used for the benefit of barangay halls, basketball courts, squatters, vendors and other businesses.
Part of the solution to the problem with road obstruction should be the strict enforcement of vehicles parking in no parking areas by towing them away immediately. While there is proposed legislation on requiring a parking space for each new vehicle bought, this would be another bureaucratic process that is difficult to ensure the desired result and will simply provide more corruption opportunities. First is that these vehicles will definitely not be parked in their stated parking space all the time, these vehicles will be used to go to work, do errands, bring children to school and therefore will not solve the parking obstruction problem. In addition there is no assurance that the supposed parking or garage space will be kept as such after the vehicle has been acquired. They could easily be used for other purposes such as storage space, living quarters or even a sari-sari store!
Removal and correction of improperly designed highway structures and barricades should be done immediately. As a glaring example, for those of us using the skyway heading north, there is that row of useless toll booths before NAIAX that was ill conceived and is now a major bottleneck and a safety concern due to the road constriction with a definite narrowing of the driveable width causing everyone to slow down particularly the less capable drivers. In addition, we can see the inordinate use of lane dividers and U-turn barricades throughout Metro Manila, some of which are made of solid concrete that no one ensures are aligned properly causing them to be crooked and protrude out further narrowing valuable road space and causing deadly accidents particularly at night, because they are in the middle of the road and do not have reflectors or safety lights.
Ban the use of pedicabs. They clog up the roads and counter flow dangerously in places such as DLSU and St. Scholastica in Manila. They slow everyone down, they move like pedestrians holding hands in the middle of the road and crisscross anywhere they please. We face the same problem with busses eating up three lanes whenever they pick up passengers or move ahead from other busses parked in front of them. Jeepneys are also the scourge of the secondary roads that don’t even bother to move closer to the curb to pick up and drop off their passengers to allow vehicles behind to squeeze through. These are the ones the traffic enforcers should be watching out for, not the number coded vehicles that provide another target of opportunity.
Talking about the vehicle reduction program, this is probably doing more harm than good. First is that many people end up buying another vehicle to overcome this restriction adding to the problem of the lack of proper parking space causing a permanent road obstruction. Next is that this has become the primary focus of traffic enforcers rather than prioritizing the smoother flow of traffic. Once the number coding violator is apprehended, this creates another traffic obstruction since the erring vehicle has to be stopped, more often right along the road, to be issued a violation ticket, or maybe not….
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