Quick fixes: Mayors’ proposals to ease traffic in Metro Manila in 45 days

July 29, 2019 - 4:06 PM
EDSA gridlock
The gridlock in EDSA transferred to EDSA and smaller roads during the first day of the week-long dry run of the high occupancy vehicle traffic scheme in 2018. (Philstar.com/ File photo)

Members of the Metro Manila Council expressed different strategies—from setting limits for bar and street vendors to removing illegally parked vehicles—to heed President Duterte’s call to reclaim all public roads within 45 days

President Rodrigo Duterte made the order during the 4th State of the Nation Address last July 22: “Reclaim all public roads that are being used for private ends. Marami diyan.”

The economy loses P3.5 billion a day due to the traffic in Metro Manila, Duterte said.

Clearing the main or national roads was later seen as an initial step to ease the worsening traffic problem. Duterte even threatened to suspend any mayor who defies his order.

All Metro Manila mayors, excluding Taguig Mayor Lino Cayetano, met with the Metro Manila Development Authority to discuss this directive last June 25.

Proposed solutions

The mayors were initially given a 60-day leeway to carry out what they think could be short-term solutions to the longstanding traffic problem. However, officials later agreed that it can be done within 45 days.

The Department of Interior and Local Government also asked them to submit reports on their road networks, road audit and their plans the following week.

Remove illegal street vendors

Ahead of this meeting, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno was already able to clear some of the busiest streets of in Manila such as the streets in Divisoria commercial center, Carriedo Street and Rizal Avenue.

Unfortunately, informal hawkers have become the casualties of these operations. So far, Moreno has yet to develop concrete plans for them in the near future.

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, meanwhile, suggested limits for the vendors elsewhere other than the main roads of Pasig.

The bigger challenge for him is to set up tents on the streets during observances of wakes or other big events.

“There must be strict implementation. We started with some of the roads, but again we need to double our efforts to comply with the 60-day deadline,” Sotto said.

Pull out illegal e-tricycles

Moreno ordered the Manila Trafficking and Parking Bureau to inform drivers of electronic tricycles to temporarily stop their operations on July 26.

This was beyond the idea he floated during the MMC meeting wherein only around 300 e-tricycles which he considered unregistered will be suspended.

The e-tricycles started operating during the time of his predecessor, Joseph Estrada.

Moreno clarified that the pullout was to address the traffic problem and help the jeepney drivers earn back their income loss.

He also said the e-tricycles should first be registered with the Land Transportation Office.

Remove illegally parked vehicles and implementing a truck ban

Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco’s take on the clearing operation is to evict illegally parked vehicles on the city’s main thoroughfares.

Tiangco will also look into possibly issuing a truck ban but only if traffic worsens along C3 Road due to a construction project on a part of the North Luzon Expressway traversing the city.

Caloocan Mayor Oscar Malapitan said he will likewise monitor illegal parking and vendors along Caloocan’s major routes.

No-contact apprehension policy

Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian will enforce a no-contact apprehension policy in August to capture images and videos of traffic violators.

Aside from helping loosen up the traffic problem, this will also hopefully generate funds for more than 1,000 dialysis patients.

The city council just approved a joint venture project with QPAX Traffic Systems Inc. for this scheme’s implementation.