‘No-left’ extended

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Friday, July 4, 2014


CEBU CITY -- More pocket lanes, wider roads and more traffic enforcers.

These are among the recommendations stakeholders contributed during a dialogue Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama hosted on Friday to get ideas to improve the traffic on the Banilad-Talamban (BanTal) corridor.

The mayor, with the consent of the stakeholders, also decided to extend by another hour the implementation of the no-left-turn policy.

Previously, the policy was implemented from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., in an attempt to lighten rush-hour traffic.

Mayor Rama said it will now be extended until 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., from Monday to Friday.

The stakeholders who attended the meeting in the Social Hall of City Hall included school officials, several business owners, residents, officials of Barangays Talamban, Banilad, Kasambagan, Luz and Apas, and representatives of subdivisions.

3-hour talk

During the discussion that began at 9 a.m. and lasted for three hours, the stakeholders expressed no opposition to the no-left-turn policy but made several recommendations to further ease the traffic.

Banilad barangay councilor Malou Tabar said more pocket lanes are needed, similar to those in front of Gaisano Country Mall, so jeepneys and private vehicles will have an area to load or unload passengers.

This way, they will not have to stop on the road and stall the flow of other vehicles.

Tabar’s suggestion was echoed by the residents of Silver Hills in Banilad, who added that the City Government should penalize the jeepney drivers and passengers if they embark or disembark in areas other than the pocket lanes.

Pocket lanes, Rama said, are doable.

City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) Chief Atty. Rafael Yap, who also attended the dialogue, said they have already identified 10 areas that will serve as pocket lanes.

For those going to the city proper, Yap said, the pocket lanes will include the area across Country Mall, one along J. Panis St., the property where the Cebu Provincial Government’s Ciudad project is, and another one beside the flyover near the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority compound.

Pocket lanes

For those going to Talamban, Yap said, the pocket lanes identified will be located near commercial establishments and on private lots.

Citom board chairperson Ruben Almendras said these include the vacant lot near the fruit stand in Kasambagan.

Almendras and Yap said the City will be negotiating with the lot owners for the space to establish pocket lanes.

Asked when they target to have the pocket lanes in place, Yap said it will be as soon as possible.

Aside from the pocket lanes, a resident of Talamban, who asked not be named, told the mayor that the City should widen the road to address the heavy traffic on the BanTal corridor.

He added that the implementation of the project should be expedited.

Citom said, though, that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has already set aside funds for the matter.

Businessman Bunny Pages said that the BanTal Task Force, which he heads, will then “pressure” the DPWH to start the project.

USC’s fence

Still on the widening of the BanTal area, Rama told the stakeholders that he wants the fence of the University of an Carlos-Talamban Campus removed.

Almendras said, though, that the City still has to consult officials of the university.

The mayor also said he wants two lanes under the Banilad flyover, from the present one lane.

This way, Rama said, vehicles going to Talamban will not have to use only the lane on the flyover in going to their destination.

The mayor then asked if the stakeholders are okay with it, and they said yes.

Traffic lights will be installed under the flyover to prevent accidents, Rama said.

Asked for their other recommendations, the stakeholders said there is a need for the City to deploy more Citom enforcers in the BanTal area.

They said that drivers, particularly those of jeepneys, are more disciplined and compliant with traffic rules if they can see traffic enforcers.

Task forces

Before the discussion ended, Rama inducted the members of the BanTal Task Force.

Aside from Pages, the members of the task force are Citom, the barangay officials of Banilad, Talamban, Kasambagan and Luz, a representative of the business establishments, a representative of the schools, and a representative of the residents.

Rama has ordered the City Legal Office to draft the executive order creating that team.

On Wednesday, Rama and the task force will inspect and assess the traffic situation on the BanTal corridor.

Mayor Rama said he expects the members to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Among the places where traffic task forces will be fielded are Gorordo Ave. to Busay, Gen. Maxilom Ave. to B. Rodriguez St., V. Rama to Guadalupe, Capitol to Ayala, Plaza Independecia to Capitol, Mabini to C. Padilla to Mambaling, and Tagunol to Inayawan.

The task forces were also formed in preparation for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in 2015, when Cebu City will host some events, and the International Eucharistic Congress in 2016. (With Zash del Pilar, USJ-R Mass Com Intern/Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 05, 2014.

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