DOTC snubs City Government’s request for a study on establishing bicycle lanes

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014


THE feasibility study for the establishment of bicycle lanes in Cebu City’s main thoroughfares cannot proceed just yet.

This, after the Department of Transportation and Communications’ (DOTC) Environmentally Sustainable Initiatives Transportation Unit (Esitu) turned down the City’s request for the agency to fund and undertake the study because of lacking documents and data.

The City, through the Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom), proposed and requested to charge the conduct of the feasibility study to DOTC’s Special Vehicle Pollution Control Fund (SVPCF).

But in an e-mail sent to the office of City Councilor Nida Cabrera, the Esitu said the SVPCF follows a timetable of presenting project proposals to the Road Board before the start of the 2014 financial year.

Discussion

“And we also have to recognize that certain aspects of the proposal (for feasibility study) still need to be discussed in more detail, in order to be presented to the Road Board,” the letter read.

“In this regard, we regret to inform you that due to existing concerns that remain to be clarified on the methodology and operationalization of the proposed feasibility study, we are not able to include your proposal in the 2014 pipeline projects of the SVPCF,” read the Esitu letter to Cabrera.

Citom and Cabrera, the chairperson of the City Council committee on environment and natural resources, are working together on the project brief for the proposed feasibility study.

In an interview yesterday, Citom Executive Director Rafael Yap said there were some data that the Esitu required, which they were not able to comply with on time.

Survey

The City was asked to provide DOTC with data on greenhouse gas emissions in the city, as well as a survey on ailments related to greenhouse gas emissions. Results of the survey were supposed to justify the need for bicycle lanes.

Yap said conducting the survey will take time.

In a letter dated Nov. 19, 2013, the Esitu also requested for clarification on at least 10 items in the project brief.

It asked the office of Cabrera to reply by noontime of Nov. 20, but they failed to do so.

Yap said they will ask DOTC to reconsider and give them more time to submit the lacking documents, and to amend its list of projects under the SVPCF.

“If our request is turned down again, we have another option. We want to centralize all transport-related studies under the study being funded by Jica, which is more comprehensive and covers other cities,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.

“That’s why I’m not so worried about DOTC’s decision because we have plan B,” Yap continued.

The Citom director is referring to the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (Jica) study for the masterplan for the Mega Cebu project.

The Cebu City Council earlier asked Citom to undertake the study as it deliberates on a proposal to open bicycle lanes on Plaza Independencia, Legaspi Extension, Juan Luna Ave., Salinas Drive and Veterans Drive.

But because Citom does not have the technical expertise and the manpower to conduct such a study, it asked for DOTC’s assistance.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 22, 2014.

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