Students back road-sharing

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014


ENVIRONMENTAL lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr. launched yesterday a petition asking Cebu City officials to designate a portion of Gorordo Ave. and Salinas Drive for cyclists and pedestrians every Sunday for six months, starting March 30.

Oposa presented the draft petition to participants of a forum on climate change at the University of the Philippines Cebu.

About 60 persons, mostly students, signed the petition.

The petition is part of a national movement, called Share the Road, which aims to give more road space to cyclists and pedestrians in urban centers.

The movement, which started in Manila last month, hopes that the establishment of bike lanes and pedestrian pathways would lessen greenhouse gas emissions by vehicles and slow down climate change.

The movement chose Cebu and Iloilo as model cities for the road-sharing concept.

Oposa proposed that on March 30, one side of Gorordo Ave. from the UP Cebu Campus to the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel on Salinas Drive will be used by cyclists and pedestrians. He wants the other side, which has two lanes, to be used for two-way vehicle traffic.

Assessment

The petition addresses Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama in Cebuano. “Mag-angay ta sa karsada sa March 30 ug every Sunday for six months,” the petition reads.

It says that the movement will then assess the implementation of the road-sharing scheme after six months.

Oposa siad the road-sharing event on March 30 would not cause the same traffic jam that made the Road Revolution movement in downtown Cebu City in September 2011 the subject of many criticisms.

“There won’t be a traffic jam if vehicles fall in a single line,” he said in an interview with Sun.Star Cebu. “PUJ (public utility jeepney) stops would be placed at both ends of the road-sharing area and jeepneys must comply so that there would be a continuous flow of vehicles.”

Oposa was scheduled to meet yesterday afternoon with officials of Cebu City and Barangay Lahug to discuss the event.

Challenge

One possible PUJ stop would be at the corner of Molave St. on Gorordo Ave. or at the intersection of Rosal St.-Gorordo Ave.

“The challenge is for Cebu to become a model walkable city, not only in the Philippines, but for the rest of the world,” Oposa said.

He said that in Iloilo City, the local government and the Share the Road movement are planning to designate 3.2 meters of the road for bicycles and pedestrians and allow vehicles to use only 2.8 meters.

He said the road-sharing scheme has been successfully implemented in Marikina since 2003 with the establishment of a 52-kilometer bike lane network.

San Juan, he said, has expressed plans to organize a “carless day” once a week.

Support

Fellow environmental lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos said she hopes that the road-sharing activity will push through.

She said she is glad that local officials, like Cebu City Councilor Nida Cabrera, support the program.

Cabrera filed a proposal for an ordinance that establishes bike lanes, which will be submitted for first reading in the City Council next week.

The Share the Road movement proposes that 70 percent of urban roads be devoted to covered sidewalks, bike lanes and urban gardens while 30 percent will be for an organized transport system.

The Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) urged Oposa to submit a proposal that can be reviewed by its board.

“We just want to know where, when and how long this will be held,” Citom Executive Director Rafael Yap said in a separate interview.

The Citom board meets every other Thursday, he said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 12, 2014.

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