November 24, 2017, 12:48 pm
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Solving MM’s traffic woes

Environmental planners have a simple, cheap, doable and immediately implementable way of solving Metro Manila’s traffic.

Ma. Theresa Quimpo, president of the Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners (PIEP), believes a bus rapid transit (BRT) system in major thoroughfares such as EDSA, C3 and C5 would be a quick solution to keep private cars off the roads and ease congestion.

Quimpo said the government can adopt Bogota, Colombia‘s Transmilenio which uses a trunk-and-feeder system and high-capacity buses.

But rather than articulated buses, Quimpo said the BRT can use the existing buses to ply on a dedicated lane without operators losing their franchises and businesses.

Articulated buses are  composed of two sections, a front section with two axles and a back section with one axle, connected by a flexible joint.

Quimpo said the existing passenger overpasses on EDSA for example could be used as stations of stops.

She said Transmilenio, patterned after a similar transportation system in Curitiba, Brazil, was rolled out within a three-year timeframe and is now the world’s largest mass transport system  carrying 2.4 million passengers per day.

Brazil and Colombia, both emerging economies like the Philippines chose  this system since they could not afford a mass rail transit system which costs billions per kilometer.

“If the system runs on specific schedules and the payment is similar to that of the MRT, the BRT will encourage people to commute,” Quimpo said  on the sidelines of the 26th  PIEP National Convention at the Seda Vertis North.

“It may not look first world (BRT), but it’s a start.”

Quimpo said mass transport is the best way to move the most number of people at one go. 

On EDSA alone, she said an imbalance exists: There are more cars  than buses plying the avenue but only a few are ferried to their destinations.

“We have to get (government) officials to commit,” said Quimpo, referring to various plans to set up BRTs, one of which is led by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority linking Bonifacio Global City to NAIA. 

Megaworld Corp. is proposing a two-kilometer monorail that will link Fort Bonifacio to the MRT Guadalupe Station.

Quimpo said Metro Manila no longer needs additional roads. Rather, it needs more connectivity to the environs such as the proposed connector road between North Luzon Expressway and the South Luzon Expressway. 

Outside Metro Manila, Quimpo said Cebu could have the chance to avoid the traffic snarls it now experiences if it has built the planned BRT years back, before its population exploded.

But Quimpo believes the Mindanao railway project would have the biggest impact from among the infrastructure projects of the Duterte administration’s Build, Build, Build program.

She said the connectivity the system would create would help spur growth in the areas where the train will run.

PIEP is  multidisciplinary organization that helps local governments and developers on city and development planning.

Composed of  2,433 members in the architectural, engineering and environment fields, the group pushes not only sustainable and environmental measures but also socio-economic  efforts like job creation and eradication of the drug  menace in their urban plans.

“We need to restructure land use.. our communities… to make them mixed use, livable and make them communities resilient, communities for human beings and not for cars,” Quimpo said,

Quimpo  said Iloilo is one example of a city which managed to blend the old and the new, keeping its heritage and the wide open spaces while still keeping pace with growth and development. -I.Isip
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