Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri pushed for the construction of elevated walkways and bike lanes along EDSA to help ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila’s busiest road during the Senate hearing on “Carmageddon” and other traffic nightmares held by the Committee on Public Services chaired by Senator Grace Poe.
Zubiri pressed the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on “the elevated walkway project that has long been budgeted for by the national government and even included in the General Appropriations Act. I see no clear logical reason why it was not implemented.”
“Compared to other infrastructure projects where Right-of-Way issues usually cause delays, this project will not be met with much opposition since government owns the land,” stressed Zubiri. “We will have to talk only with the public utility companies, which I doubt would oppose this particular public-friendly project.”
The proposal of Zubiri was supported by the representatives of ALT and MOVE Manila, an alternative transport advocacy and commuters groups, respectively.
Zubiri stressed that the implementation of the elevated walkway project was”long overdue,” citing the lack of convenient inter-connection of even the LRT and MRT with other PUVs.
“Last week, commuters did the best of the ‘Carmageddon’ situation by walking instead of waiting for four hours inside buses in a standstill in EDSA. I myself would have done that, walked to get home. That crisis is what I precisely hoped to resolve way back in August 2016 in my ‘Inclusive Mobility’ speech,” Zubiri shared.
It will be recalled that Zubiri first spoke of the concept of Inclusive Mobility in the Senate during his first privilege speech upon assumption in the Senate in 2016.
Zubiri initially proposed the first phase of the construction of the elevated walkways from Ortigas district to the central business district (CBD) in Makati. The DPWH estimated that around PHP7 billion is needed to fully implement the project. Zubiri further said that with the support of his colleagues, he will work on for an initial PHP1 billion budget for the elevated walkways in next year’s General Appropriations Act.
Zubiri cited other countries’ successful use of elevated walkways with lanes for walking, biking, and even mopeds in the entire Metro Manila up to Parañaque.
In addition to elevated walkways, Zubiri proposed the use of the Pasig River as a major mode of transportation.
“The DoTr (Department of Transportation) and the MMDA should acquire modern river ferries that are big, safe, and comfortable,” he said. “I have observed that the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission had been presenting proposals to turn the river into a busy transportation and tourism development project. Major cities around the world have been successfully using rivers. We can replicate their experiences here and improve the situation of our commuters.”
“We cannot operate Metro Manila or any of our other megacities if we neglect to address the traffic situation and give our mass transport riders the safety and convenience they deserve with urgency,” Zubiri added.
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