MMDA has nothing to replace U-turns

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) began closing intersections in 2003 under a program called “Big Rotonda Scheme,” initially along Quezon Ave. from España to Commonwealth Ave., then along Epifanio delos Santos Ave. (EDSA). The goal was to speed up traffic along main thoroughfares.

To replace the closed intersections, the MMDA came up with the scheme of U-turns. Cars on Roosevelt Ave. could no longer cross EDSA to Congressional Ave. where so many people live, but they could use a U-turn two blocks away.

Last June, the MMDA came up with the idea of reserving the innermost lane along EDSA for so-called “carousel buses.” Then, to further speed up the buses, the MMDA thought of closing the U-turns for private vehicles.
But it had no road scheme to replace the U-turns.

The result has been horrendous traffic, especially along EDSA, as QC folk going home from work in Manila had no way to cross EDSA to reach their homes, except for underpasses along Quezon Ave. in QC and along Balintawak Ave. in Caloocan, several kilometers apart.

This is what happens when traffic planners stop one traffic scheme without replacing it with another. U-turns replaced intersections in 2003. There is nothing to replace the U-turns removed by MMDA,. So that motorists now have to continue travelling along EDSA for long distances in search of a way home.

Last week, Rep. Anthony Peter Crisologo of Quezon City asked the MMDA to take a second look at its decision to close seven U-turns along EDSA. The goal of speeding up buses was commendable, he said, but closing seven U-turn slots has created a massive traffic problem for hundreds of thousands living in barangays on both sides of EDSA, including Project 8, Bago Bantay, Veterans Village, Katipunan, and San Antonio.

The construction of elevated U-turns and overpasses would be a good long-term solution, but the problem facing hundreds of thousands of residents is now. Traffic along EDSA has been worsened by thousands of cars looking for a way to cross to their offices in the morning and to their homes at night.