Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan seen to solve Baguio woes

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Friday, June 27, 2014


A SUSTAINABLE Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) is currently being proposed to the City of Baguio to address issues of traffic in the central business district and the air quality of the city.

In a conference June 26, researcher Michelle Garcia, Business Development and Marketing officer of John Hay Management Corporation, presented her study, which aims to promote a "healthy urban life" through commuting, decongestion of public utility vehicles in the central business district and a pedestrianized Session Road.

The SUMP features the use of universal shuttles or "unshut" in a counter-clockwise route passing Maharlika Market, Harrison Road, General Luna, Upper and Lower Bonifacio Street.

It also aims to decongest the central business district by skimming and rationalizing redundant routes of jeepneys which will affect Trancoville, Aurora Hill, PNR, Hillside, Loakan, Camp 6, Camp 7 and Mines View, Pacdal, Teacher's Camp, M. Roxas and Brookside.

Garcia said the study recommends public commuting than use of private vehicles because her findings show private vehicle owners who will shift into public commuting and walking will save expenses in fuel thus giving them increase in spending power.

She added the pedestrianized Session Road will improve market of businesses along the area as it will be congested with people instead of vehicles.

Garcia disclosed the study was already presented before the Baguio City mayor and officials.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan, on the same day, expressed in his weekly Ugnayan favorable comments on the project as it has been a dream for the city for so long. However, there are concerns he would like to be addressed first.

"In principle, maganda naman yung iprenesent, but is it doable? Is it implementable?" he asked.

He assumed many among the public will react on the proposal which is why he suggested more studies to be conducted with the engagement of the stakeholders including commuters, students, businessmen, drivers, jeepney operators and other transport groups in the city for them to be consulted.

Mayor Domogan's primary concern is the transport sector who will be greatly affected, especially the public jeepney operators and drivers who expressed opposition because their livelihood may be compromised.
He suggested Garcia to consider them in the critical planning so the proposal may be possibly put into action.

He stated when all issues and concerns are addressed, he thinks there is no reason not to implement the SUMP.

Moreover, the city mayor said there is an ongoing feasibility study by the Department of Science and Technology looking into the possibility of putting up a monorail or tramline in the city.

He disclosed the study was presented to the BLISTT to include the areas as well.

"Kung magawa natin yan, malaking tulong sa problema ng quality ng ating hangin," he said adding the quality of transport system will also improve.

Mayor Domogan ended he is open to proposals, which will contribute to the development of the city. He noted they just really have to undergo further study to ensure people will agree and cooperate with the proposed projects. (Giovani Joy Fontanilla)

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

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