Traffic problems frustrate Baguio mayor

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Thursday, May 8, 2014


BAGUIO City Mayor Mauricio Domogan on Wednesday expressed growing frustration over the worsening traffic congestion in the Central Business District.

He stressed that the proposals for south and northbound bus terminals and multi-level parking complex will help address the pressing problem.

According to the mayor, land claims on the proposed site for the southbound terminal has hindered the city from pursuing this plan.

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"Ten hectares were segregated in Green Valley for the terminal. But instead of a bus terminal we now have illegal settlers in the area because of these land claims,” Domogan said.

"[The terminal] could have been an effective measure to address our traffic problems," he added.

It was the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers in Baguio, which first proposed the establishment of centralized bus terminals. This was backed by student researches.

The proposed site for the southbound bus terminal was at Gov. Pack Road where the current terminal is while the Slaughter House staging area was identified as the northbound terminal.

The Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee was cold to the proposal believing it will only worsen traffic in the CBD.

It was FEJODABBLU president Perfecto Itliong who presented the concept to RLECC chaired by then Police Regional Director Benjamin Magalong.

The transport group was backed by researches of the University of the Cordilleras (UC) students.

The southbound terminal was conceptualized on the thesis "Smart Growth Principle: A viable planning and design approach for the southbound mix use bus terminal station complex" by Raymond Aclopen Atuban, Jeronimo Palome Campoy, Ruben de Guzman Dela Peña, and Adriel Culay – an Dodon in 2012.

The study said the multi–purpose building can accommodate 175 private vehicles at its basement and will accommodate around 20 buses outside.

Meanwhile, the northbound station idea came from the thesis "An eco – friendly northbound bus terminal complex: Incorporating renewable and sustainable features" by John Alfred Cruz, Rexie Las Marias, and Jhoanne Pigao. The building is a mix – used type with hotels inside and other facilities.

Land Transportation Office earlier reported that in 2012, there was an average increase of vehicles at 9 percent from January to June in the region where Baguio City had 2.25 percent average increase for the same period.

In the same report, LTO said some 4,138 registered vehicles were recorded in Baguio City by LTO from January to July 2013. A total of 3,575 are registered as private while 40 are government and 523 are for hire vehicles.

Vehicles from La Trinidad, Benguet are also great contributory factors to the traffic problem in the city. As of July 2013, there are 2,378 registered vehicles under the town’s LTO where 2,176 are private, 67 are government, and 135 are for hire vehicles.

However, the number of registered vehicles does not show the real picture because several vehicles are operating without due registration.

Baguio City Police Office – Traffic Management Unit have also reported an average of 80 to 85 traffic violation citation per day.

Most of the violations are on illegal parking, obstruction, and disregarding of traffic signs. Most of the apprehended drivers are private vehicle drivers which is 70 to 75 percent.

The city’s thoroughfares can only accommodate 5,000 vehicles. In 2010, around 32,000 vehicles are plying Baguio City excluding the visiting tourists. An average of 170,000 visiting tourists’ vehicles usually visits the city in a year. (Giovani Joy Fontanilla)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 09, 2014.

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