The traffic problem plaguing Metropolitan Manila has reached immense proportions to the effect that along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue alone, there seems to be no such thing as a “rush hour,” it appearing from the volume of vehicles that every hour is a “rush hour.” Good grief!
Compounding the traffic problem is the ineptitude of Tim Orbos, the head of the Metro Manila Development Authority. His agency has exempted motorcycles from the number-coding ban imposed on all vehicles. That improvident decision has allowed many reckless motorcycle drivers to lord it over the roads of the national capital region. These motorcycle drivers disregard traffic rules with impunity, and are very inconsiderate and discourteous towards other motorists. They weave through traffic as they please, use any lane they want to, create their own counterflow, and they rush to the start of any motor vehicle queue at most intersections, where they end up occupying the pedestrian lane without any regard for pedestrians.
Moreover, the exemption Orbos gave to motorcycles has made it easier for “riding in tandem” urban assassins to ply their trade in the metropolis. Good heavens!
The Pasig River has also been the focus of proposals for mitigating the traffic nightmare in Metropolitan Manila. One proposal is to create a regular ferry service from Pasig in the east up to Manila Bay in the west. The stench of the river, however, makes this proposal unpopular.
Another proposal is to construct more bridges across the Pasig River to connect the north and south segments of the metropolis at more points. This particular proposal is based on the assumption that if more bridges are constructed across the river, traffic congestion in the metropolis as a whole will ease up a bit.
So far, there are only about 14 bridges across the Pasig, and from all indications, they are not enough to meet the current roaduse demand.
It was learned that the Department of Public Works and Highways is pursuing a plan to construct a bridge connecting the Bonifacio Global City to Barangay Kapitolyo in Pasig City. More specifically, the bridge will start from Lawton Street in what was once the sprawling Fort Bonifacio military reservation and end up at Santa Monica Street in the southeast segment of Barangay Kapitolyo.
Residents of Barangay Kapitolyo are protesting this proposed bridge because it will add to the existing traffic congestion along Capitol Drive. The anticipated traffic mess, air pollution, and vehicle noise already trigger anxiety among the residents in the affected areas. They all ask—why use Santa Monica Street to connect BGC with the north segment of Metropolitan Manila, when there are other less unsettling and less disturbing alternatives?
Indeed, why use Santa Monica and Capitol Drive when the diverted vehicles using that proposed bridge will only end up at Shaw Boulevard which is, as it is, extremely congested at almost all hours of the day?
An observer invites attention to Sheridan Street which is located close to the border between Mandaluyong City and Pasig City. Sheridan Street begins at the intersection of Shaw Boulevard and San Miguel Avenue near Saint Francis Church in Mandaluyong, and traverses United Street and Reliance Street to the south, until it reaches Pioneer Street beside the RFM corporate head office.
Back in the 1990s, Sheridan Street did not end at Pioneer Street, but crossed it, and continued downhill well into the end of Brixton Street, and on to Capitol Drive in Barangay Kapitolyo. That particular stretch of Sheridan Street hosted and continues to host factories and warehouses, not residences.
In the 1990s, motorists coming from Capitol Drive can go directly to Pioneer Street through this segment of Sheridan Street. RFM operated an outlet at that segment. That outlet sold eggs and dressed chicken at wholesale prices. It could be reached directly from Capitol Drive, and customers parked their vehicles on the road.
Sometime in the late 1990s, however, motorists coming from Capitol Drive were no longer allowed to use that segment of Sheridan Street as an access road to Pioneer Street. They were instead diverted to Brixton Street, then to Reliance Street, and on to Pioneer Street. Eventually, that segment of Sheridan Street was blocked off for the exclusive use of RFM vehicles. How RFM got exclusive rights over that segment of Sheridan Street is not clear.
So far, the intersection of Pioneer Street and that segment of Sheridan Street is marked by a commercial arcade, a pizza outlet, a fuel station patronized by taxicabs, and a fastfood outlet.
A close look at that segment of Sheridan Street will readily reveal its strategic importance to solving the traffic mess in the area.
An observer suggests that the solution is to build the BGC-Santa Monica bridge as planned, but instead of connecting the Pasig end of the bridge to Capitol Drive and on to Shaw Boulevard, the Pasig end should be connected instead to that segment of Sheridan Street near the RFM area. Motorists can then travel from BGC and then on to Santa Monica Street, further to that segment of Sheridan Street near the RFM area. Upon reaching Pioneer Street, motorists can continue straight to the main stretch Sheridan Street up to Shaw Boulevard and San Miguel Avenue. They can also turn left on one of the side roads along the main stretch of Sheridan Street and proceed to the Edsa Boni Avenue tunnel, or to the northbound lane of Edsa.
If the DPWH insists on its plan to connect the bridge to Shaw Boulevard, and the project turns out to cost more than the Sheridan Street alternative, DPWH officials may be inviting a court suit for injunction, and even graft raps before the Office of the Ombudsman.