Parking at Melvin Jones mulled

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Thursday, February 27, 2014


THE mayor of Baguio City has recently expressed the local government's interest in an off-street parking facility at Melvin Jones football grounds which is within the Burnham Park complex.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan this week signed Administrative Order 025 series of 2014 creating a Technical Working Group to assess, evaluate and recommend to local officials the most advantageous feasibility study and proposal in the operation of an off-street parking at Burnham Park.

Domogan said an off-street parking at Melvin Jones will ease up traffic congestion and address the lack of parking spaces in the city while maintaining the surface of the football grounds.

The city mayor showed a perspective of the project to local reporters Wednesday. The design was rendered by an Australian firm which expressed interest in an off-street parking at Melvin Jones football field without destroying the surface of the only open space left in the Central Business District aside from the Baguio Athletic Bowl.

Among the members of the TWG created by the mayor include heads of the City Engineering Office, City Environment and Parks Management Office, City Building and Architecture, Budget, Legal and Treasury offices, police, accounting and the City Council’s chair of the Committee on Tourism, Parks and Playgrounds.

The TWG is also tasked to entertain similar feasibility studies and project proposals from an interested group upon 30 days from its creation. The group will then conduct assessment and evaluation of the proposal most beneficial to the city.

The mayor has given the TWG until May 15 to submit its final recommendation of the best proposal for an off-street parking in the city.

The proposed off-street parking design involves two levels of parking on both sides of the Melvin Jones football grounds while an underground parking will be placed beneath the football field.

Without detailing the cost of the enormous project, which according to the mayor will only be known after the completion of the feasibility study, the project is expected to provide parking spaces to some 2,000 vehicles thus freeing Session and Harrison Road from on-street parking.

The initial design also shows a tunnel to connect the Melvin Jones off-street parking to Session Road and Harrison Road through an underground pedestrian tunnel.

“Melvin Jones will remain as a football ground. What will happen, there will be underground parking while the surface will remain as a football field including the stage will be retained and improved,” he said.

The mayor, however did not discuss further if the development would become a pay-parking facility but he stressed this would be a Public-Private Partnership.

Meantime, disclosing that the supposed development may also affect the Ganza parking area which has a pending Supreme Court case with Jadewell Parking Systems, Domogan said the Memorandum of Agreement of the city then to the pay-parking firm clearly allows the local government to improve the Melvin Jones area including the former pay-parking site.

“The MOA with Jadewell even with the validity of the contract, we can still improve the Melvin Jones. Jadewell has the option to join the bidding but if they do not win in the bid, the city has all the right to acquire its improvements inside the park,” he stressed.

Furthermore, the city mayor stressed he hopes the proposed plan for an off-street parking does not become politicized again adding this could only delay what could solve the city’s longstanding problem on traffic and parking.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 28, 2014.

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