Issue of March 4, 2018
     
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Experts suggest ways on how to manage traffic in Baguio

The city council in its Feb. 29 session has referred to the committee on public utilities and traffic legislation two traffic management proposals, including a position paper on bicycling, for the body to determine their feasibility and adaptability in addressing the traffic problems of a highly urbanized and a tourist-oriented city.

In his presentation before the body, Engr. Teodirico A. Tan has proposed for the establishment of a Baguio City Parking, Traffic, and Management Office, which will ensure the effective management and control of traffic and parking in the city.

The office would be using different engineering solutions, aside from the usual enforcement of the police, in dealing with the evolving massive traffic problems.

In achieving effective traffic management and safer roads, Tan recommended for the establishment of adequate parking spaces that can be realized through multi-level parking buildings to meet the required 3,000 parking spaces since shortage is the main cause of traffic stagnation during peak seasons.

The other actions include the identification of “loading and unloading areas” for jeepneys and taxis in selected locations of the central business district; rationalization and possible consolidation of some public utility jeepney routes; establishment of separate centralized terminal for north and south-bound buses and vans; strict implementation of laws and traffic ordinances especially in signal light intersections, schools, and commercial establishments; allocation of funds for the improvement of roads and traffic facilities such as pedestrian refuge island; conduct a study to identify future traffic problems by taking into consideration the increasing volume of vehicles and pedestrians by exploring engineering options such as elevated walkways; and updating Ordinance 7, s. 1984 to be responsive with the present and future traffic situation of the city.

In another presentation, Joseph Edison Claridades shared that the other way to battle the worsening traffic problems is “to transform Baguio into a traffic calm city.”

He also proposed having a Traffic and Transit Office to manage the traffic flow in the city, which is a key to attaining sustainable traffic solutions.

The project proposal aims to provide efficient method of public transport system, smarter road network, and promote pedestrian safety for lower air pollution and discipline that can be carried out in three stages.

Stage one involves making the roads smarter by streamlining the roads to improve traffic flow through the use of physical design such as raised crosswalks, tactile ground surface indicators for pedestrians with visual problems, and directional information; removal of the one-way streets to provide alternative routes; incorporation of bicycle lanes; redirecting the police resource from “directing traffic” to “enforcing traffic laws and monitoring the road network;” allocation of transit lanes; installation of public transport stops for provincial buses to reduce stoppage and fuel consumption; and implementation of a “clearway policy” during peak hours.

Stage two involves making the public transport system processes efficient to encourage more people to use them instead of their cars. This can be delivered by developing a jeepney timetable or scheduling of jeepney and taxi deployment and all PUJs should be allowed only outside the central business district. Inside the CBD, taxis are allowed to pick up passengers only at designated stands or passenger waiting areas.

Stage three involves providing an alternative mode of transportation that can carry more commuters at a given trip by creating a center bus system inside the CBD only carrying a minimum of 40 seated and standing commuters; encouraging the government and commercial buildings to offer free three-hour parking per day within the CBD, allowing all jeepneys to operate only outside the CBD; and the removal of all median strips or barrier in the CBD to allow passage of emergency vehicles and a space for bicycle lanes.

The environmental benefits derived in implementing the three stages are less fuel consumption and lesser pollution because of a shorter travel distance, fewer stops, and reduced number of cars in the CBD.

All stages will also trigger behavioral change and open doors for communities to deliver their advocacies on environment care.

The body, through Resolution 50, s. 2018 sent the city government’s condolences to the family of the late former Benguet Gov. Raul “Rocky” Mencio Molintas.

The resolution stated that the former governor’s demise is a great loss not only to Benguet, his family and friends, but also to the City of Baguio.

The “delivery of quality health care” and the “rehabilitation of the Benguet General Hospital” are among the initiatives that the late community leader and public servant contributed to the overall socio-economic development of Benguet.

Rocky, as he was fondly called, was born on Aug. 26, 1957 to educators Wright Molintas and Mandy Mencio. He was married to Purificacion Suello Suanding, a Tourism attaché, who is based in California, U.S.A. They have two children, Lady Charmaine and Baron Ralph.

Prior to becoming a full-fledged politician, Rocky was a Kabataang Barangay chair of Camdas Subdivision. Even after passing the Bar, he continued being an educator and an active labor advocate and lawyer of militant unions. He also headed the now defunct local weekly Cordillera Today.

He was an avid golfer and a chess enthusiast that he was elected Board of Director of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.

The three-termer governor (1995 to 2004) began his political stint in 1988 to 1992 as a board member of Benguet. He was cited as one of the Outstanding Board Members in 1991.

Rocky passed peacefully after suffering from acute leukemia and hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 60 in San Francisco, California.

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