November 03, 2018 at 08:03 pm
Joel E. Zurbano
Beginning tomorrow until next Jan. 14, there will be no road works and diggings in Metro Manila to provide relief to commuters and motorists during the Christmas season when traffic is expected to be heavy.
LOOK: Back to traffic
Jose Arturo Garcia Jr., general manager of the Metro Manila Development Authority, said the agency would impose the three-month moratorium on road works to somehow reduce anticipated traffic congestion, particularly along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, during the holidays.
“Traffic is already bad and we expect it to get worse as the number of vehicles increases,” he said.
Garcia said the moratorium on road works was also aimed at lessening the impact of ongoing infrastructure projects to heavy traffic situation until holidays were over.
The measure, according to Garcia, covered any diggings in the road right-of-way, including passage ways and sidewalks, within the cities or municipalities of Metro Manila for the installation, repair, or improvement of water pipes, telephone or telegraph wires or cable conduits, sewers and drainage systems, communication and power line improvements being undertaken by any government agency, public and private contractors.
Meanwhile, business hours at shopping malls and other commercial centers in Metro Manila will be open at 11 am beginning tomorrow, the MMDA added.
The MMDA will also start enforcing the ban on daytime delivery of goods to malls in line with the program to ease traffic in the metropolis as the Christmas shopping months draw near.
MMDA Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Celine Pialago said business establishments on major thoroughfares in Metro Manila, especially along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, will begin their operations by 11 am, an hour later from the usual 10 am opening time, during weekdays.
But she said the closing time, would depend on the malls although the MMDA had suggested 11 pm. “It is up to them.”
In a consultative meeting at the MMDA headquarters early last month, mall owners and operators agreed to the implementation of the adjusted mall business hours from Nov. 5 to Jan. 14 next year.
Under the agreement with the MMDA, shopping mall operators will also deploy additional security personnel to facilitate long lines of vehicles going inside mall parking areas that cause traffic gridlock.
The agreement also stated that the nighttime delivery policy would be implemented until Jan. 15 next year.
Delivery trucks and container vans loaded with goods, imported items and other salable merchandise, piled up the streets of Metro Manila, which the government claimed, add to the worsening traffic during the peak buying “ber months”—in reference to the months of September, October, November, and December.
The MMDA is expecting a 20 percent increase in traffic volume this Christmas season because of the influx of people and vehicles from Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, and Central Luzon.
Even without the moratorium, the MMDA urged contractors to cover the diggings with steel plates so that the road could still be used by motorists.
The MMDA had designated 17 routes as Mabuhay or Christmas lanes to help private motorists to avoid heavy traffic along EDSA during the holiday rush.
The special lanes were opened as alternate routes to shorten the travel time of motorists.
Last week, the MMDA gave a go signal to the Department of Public Works and Highways to resume its weekend road reblocking and repair works along major thoroughfares in the metropolis.
The DPWH—National Capital Region Office is now undertaking road reblocking in the following areas:
• Southbound lane of Circumferential Road - 5 after Lanuza Avenue and the second outermost southbound lane of C-5 Road near the area of SM Mall Aura, and along the third southbound lane from the sidewalk of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue in the areas of Scout Albano and Scout Borromeo.
• Northbound lane of EDSA before Oliveros Footbridge near Times Street and UCCP.
MMDA chief information officer Sharon Gentalian said the DPWH also started the restoration and concreting works along the first northbound lane from sidewalk of Roosevelt Avenue corner Baler Street; first southbound lane of West Avenue from Baler Street to Examiner Street; second and third northbound lanes from sidewalk of Visayas Avenue, and on Commonwealth Avenue near the pedestrian foorbridge, Jocfer Building and Commonwealth Avenue near Zuzuaregui Sreet, all in Quezon City.
“All affected roads will be fully passable by 5 am on Monday. Motorists are advised to avoid the affected areas and use alternate routes instead,” the MMDA advisory stated.
The MMDA clarified that deliveries of perishable goods such as food and ice cream were exempted from the ban.
The mall operators gave their nod to the submission of traffic management plan, which includes deployment of their own traffic personnel, and the management of the queuing of vehicles going to the shopping centers will be coordinated with the MMDA.
They also agreed to the no conduct of sales and other crowd-drawing events during weekdays.
Shopping malls and other commercial establishments are said to be traffic generators during ber months, the peak buying months.
MMDA records showed that traffic volume rises 15 to 20 percent between November and December.
It also showed that “midnight sales” or extended mall business hours contribute to the worsened traffic in the metropolis during the Yuletide season.
READ: MMDA to continue vexed HOV