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Monday, May 27, 2024

Private cars main reason for huge traffic in metro

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The increasing number of private vehicles remains the major cause of monstrous traffic in the National Capital Region (NCR).

This is despite the metro-wide number coding scheme, or the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program being imposed by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority every day, except during weekends and regular holidays.

Under the scheme, vehicles with license plates ending in 1 and 2 are prohibited on Monday, 3 and 4 on Tuesday, 5 and 6 on Wednesday, 7 and 8 on Thursday, 9 and 0 on Friday during the said coding hours. 

The implementation is from 7 a.m. – 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. from Monday to Friday.

The MMDA stated that traffic volume in Metro Manila increased by 17.68 percent from 2019 to 2023 due to an increase in the numbers of vehicles, road accidents and irresponsible driving. 

The agency also mentioned the existing policies, low or less penalties against traffic violators, infrastructure projects, and the current road designs and conditions as contributing factors to traffic bottlenecks.

In June 2023, the MMDA traffic engineering center recorded the highest vehicle volume count plying Epifanio de los Santos Avenue numbering to 425,890 vehicles from the previous high of 405,822 in 2019.

The MMDA reported that about 6,000 private cars are being sold every month.

Study showed that for a mega-city like Metro Manila, 25 percent of the total land area should be allotted for roads. Based on the MMDA’s records, only 5,000 kilometers of road network is in place instead of the ideal target of 8,000 kilometers.

Ninety percent of vehicles using EDSA are private, the MMDA stated.

Illegal parking is also a significant contributor to traffic congestion.

The MMDA stated that the huge number of apprehended vehicles during its road clearing operations is clearly an indication that many car owners have no proper garage or adequate parking space. 

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian had proposed that new car buyers must prove parking space before they can complete the purchase.

Gatchalian introduced a bill dubbed the “no parking, no car policy” because he observed that traffic in Metro Manila worsened by the idle vehicles parked on the sides of streets, hampering the flow of automobile and foot traffic. 

He pointed out that motor vehicle owners should be made responsible to provide a permanent parking space for their own private vehicles, whether this is made an integral part of their house or building structure or a leased facility.

MMDA chairman Don Artes said at the moment, his agency is investing in modern technology for more effective traffic response, including the integration of Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Transport Systems in the Communications and Command Center and the use of CCTVs for better real-time monitoring.

He said the Metro Manila Council also agreed to implement the 7am to 4pm new work schedule for the local government units (LGUs) of Metro Manila on May 2, which is expected to have a positive impact on the traffic flow in the metropolis.

“With only 22% of the total 645,000 permanent government employees in NCR, peak hours will be spread out. There is also a huge impact in public utility vehicles ridership with almost half a million government employees commuting. From our observation 4pm is off-peak hours in terms of ridership, the employees can easily go home while those in the private sector can expect decongested public transportation,” Artes said.

In a recent meeting with MMDA and other government officials, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. said that cooperation of LGUs is the most important facet in addressing the perennial traffic jams in Metro Manila.

Marcos added the national government can plan everything it wants but it would be for naught without the full support of LGUs.

“We need to have the cooperation of the local governments to understand what the problems are in your place, what the possible solutions are, and how we bring it all together into one complete system which we can monitor and regulate.”

He emphasized that prioritizing the traffic problem is important as it affects people’s quality of life and the country’s economic growth and balanced development.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos expressed the same sentiment as the President, saying that LGUs and barangays play a big part in DILG’s efforts to ease traffic.

Abalos also urged other LGUs to adopt solutions to address traffic problems in their respective localities.

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