Hapsay dalan: What happened?-A A +A
Spark of Law
Monday, September 30, 2013
“HAPSAY Dalan” struck a chord to Cagayanons when Mayor Moreno made it an election issue. The Cagayanons have to bear the daily traffic jams. Cagayanons have been suffering the brunt of traffic mess. Commuters suffer the rising temperature and blood pressure. Traffic accidents have been a regular occurrence.
The election promise was a sigh of relief.
On July 1, 2013, when Oscar Moreno assumed as mayor of Cagayan de Oro City, “Operation Hapsay Dalan” created a stir. It was a campaign slogan and so, the first order of business on the first day of the Moreno administration must be to make good the promise.
That day, vendors around Cogon and Carmen markets were driven away, and the traffic around the streets of these markets were decongested. Within a week also, the night cafe at Divisoria was not allowed. It was one weekend when Divisoria did not reek with urine.
Still weeks after, street signs such as “No Parking,” “No Entry,” and white and yellow markers in the streets were painted. “Hapsay Dalan” was a campaign promise meant to be fulfilled.
“Hapsay Dalan” received a lot of criticisms. There was no prior consultation with the market vendors. The night café operators were suddenly deprived of their livelihood without giving them enough time to relocate. There was a rally, and threats aired on radio against the operatives of “Hapsay Dalan.”
Of course, many appreciated the cleaner city streets around the Cogon and Carmen markets. Likewise, the businesses around Divisoria were freed of the stench and dirt right after every night café.
Then the July 26, 2013 bombing at Lim Ket Kai center sent a chilling effect in the city. The trumpets were silent. The sirens were blaring.
What happened now to “Hapsay Dalan?”
Well, right near my law office beside Gaston Park, I suddenly could not park my car along the Rizal street. The big “No Parking” sign was set-up. I had to drive farther from my office to find a parking area. I do this daily with my fellow occupants of that part of the street.
Drive also in Divisoria. You will see many cars driving around the area in the hope of finally finding a parking space. Similar cars seeking for a parking area actually create the traffic jam. The “No Parking” areas intend to clear traffic but unwittingly, these are causing traffic mess.
Take my case. Rizal street going to Fernandez street is one-way. Before, when I parked my car along the said street, it did not cause any traffic issue. Traffic was flowing then.
Likewise, the streets around Divisoria, Tirso Neri and RN Abejuela streets, are dotted now with “No Parking” signs at the right side of the streets. Again these are one-way streets. Before, cars could park at the right side without causing traffic problem. In a one-way street, you usually do not encounter traffic problem even if the vehicles are parked at the sides.
The result of the “No Parking” areas in Divisoria is causing cars to go around the area, seeking for parking space. These drivers try their luck that a park vehicle will move away. Cars looking for parking area drive so slowly. And there are many cars circling Divisoria just to find a parking space. These cars join the traffic jam in intersections.
In a one-way street, traffic jam is not a problem. You don’t fix something that which is not broken. Traffic jams usually occur in intersections and two-way streets.
We have a case of a perceived solution causing more problems.
We cannot stop people from buying cars. The obligation of effective governance is not to stop cars from plying the streets but having a master plan to ease the problem.
It is substance not propaganda. Comprehensive master plan and not piecemeal solution is required. Experts and not serendipitous traffic- solvers must do the job. Look at the fly-over along Recto street: From the bridge, it ends near the congested intersection. It is causing problem instead of solving it.
It is high time for the city government to hire experts on traffic engineering to remedy our traffic woes.
A campaign promise must be not be fulfilled by lip-service.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 30, 2013.