Christmas lanes ‘help ease traffic’

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said Sunday that the "Christmas lanes" were able to alleviate the volume of vehicular traffic in major thoroughfares in the capital.

MMDA Traffic Engineering Center head Noemi Recio cited as example Del Monte in Quezon City, which is now serving as an alternative route for motorists instead of using Quezon Avenue, one of the metropolis's busiest highway.

Recio said their monitoring showed that 50 percent of private vehicles that normally plied Quezon Avenue are now using Del Monte as their route.


"Since we closed the intersection of Del Mote riverside and identified Del Monte as alternate route or Christmas lane of Quezon Avenue due to the ongoing construction of the Araneta overpass in the area, around 50 percent of private vehicles are now using Del Monte instead of Quezon Avenue," Recio said.

But Recio said evaluation as to the reliability of the Christmas lanes particularly the new ones, are ongoing.

Earlier, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino appealed to owners of private cars to make use of the “Christmas lanes” that he said were already cleared of traffic obstructions to free up road space for motorists while traffic signs easily visible to them were already installed.

"We are calling on our private motorists to use these alternate roads. This is for their own convenience,” Tolentino said.

The Christmas lanes, also known as “Mabuhay Lanes” were introduced by the MMDA in 2010 to divert traffic from the heavily-congested roads of Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (Edsa), the metropolis prime thoroughfare.

Data provided by the agency showed that after the opening of the Christmas lanes last year, travel speed along the 24-kilometer long Edsa increased by more than 14 percent, or from 27.98 kilometers per hour (kph) to 32.07 kph.

This year, the MMDA designated 33 new lanes or a total of 48 kilometers to add to the existing 12 that were only 157 kilometers long. With this, Metro Manila vehicle users can use 45 Christmas lanes, which total to 205 kilometers long.

The new routes passed through popular shopping destinations such as Divisoria, Baclaran, Greenhills and Carriedo.

Aside from the Christmas lanes, the MMDA has also deployed an elite unit of traffic enforcers dubbed the “EDSA 500” to help untangle traffic jams in the metropolis this Holiday season.

"Their task is to bring the traffic problems more manageable and lessen traffic gridlocks along Edsa especially near the vicinities of shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, entertainment centers and known crowded places during the Christmas season," MMDA assistant general manager for operations Emerson Carlos said of the group whose members will be called not as traffic enforcers but traffic constables.

The deployment of the group is also part of the agency's "Edsa makeover" project that involves beautification of the 24-kilometer long highway. (AH/Sunnex)

Local news

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