Porta admin assures order

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Monday, December 16, 2013

PORTA Vaga Mall administration pacified concerns of growing traffic problems along Session Road with the scheduled opening of a supermarket of a giant mall developer.

Porta Vaga mall chief operating officer Fr. Lorenzo Abela Jr. said they have long addressed and prepared for traffic and parking concerns prior to leasing the space in the mall’s basement to Robinson’s Retail Holdings, Inc.

The supermarket of the mall developer is scheduled to open its doors to shoppers on December 20.

Facebook netizens raised questions on traffic and parking problems along Upper Session Road following viral posts of concerned residents announcing the opening of the supermarket last week.

The Roman Catholic diocese-run mall along Session Road stressed they have allocated parking spaces on their roof deck parking as well as offer the pay-parking space of the Baguio Cathedral for mall shoppers.

All these parking spaces could accommodate some 50 vehicles at the Porta Vaga roof deck and some 75 to 100 vehicles at the Cathedral grounds, he said.

But he said majority of Session Road establishments have this problem on parking and not only their mall.

On concerns of delivery trucks further aggravating the worsening traffic situation along Session Road, he stressed, they have arranged supply lines of the supermarket with delivery trucks unloading goods and supplies at night and not in the daytime and the rush-hour.

“Delivery trucks will only start restocking the supermarket past midnight until early morning when there is less traffic,” he stressed.

Abela explained they have communicated with the city government their loading and unloading area or taxi lane in front of the mall which can accommodate at least five taxi units.

The mall assured they will assign employees and security to assist in the quick loading of goods brought by shoppers and provide traffic assistance to prevent slowdown of vehicle movement along Upper Session Road.

The mall executive stressed they considered Robinson’s Supermarket as their client because they want to also reinvent the image of the mall which continues to help micro-entrepreneurs and local retail shops these past years.

This began with the re-zoning of the mall’s food concessionaires along Session Road with their food strip accommodating international and national restaurant chains and other local restaurants. He said they also appreciate the good response of the public in the redesigning of the mall facade which has created an image of Session Road during the American period, he said.

“In the early years we have been accommodating our local business siguro by this time naman we can already start offering our spaces to national accounts. But we are not saying that we are setting aside our local tenants but we are only mixing-up local and national tenants as they can also learn something from these successful national franchises,” he said.

The mall executive added they envision Porta Vaga Mall as a mixture of local, national and international retail shops.

Meanwhile, Mayor Mauricio Domogan when asked about the development a week ago said he is not aware of the new supermarket.

But he suggested major developers to consider parking and traffic as major factors for developments adding malls could always relocate somewhere far from the Central Business District so as not to further congest the city’s major economic and trade center.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 17, 2013.

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