DYLA, one of the my favorite local stations, asked an interesting question after the Ironman 70.3 Cebu last Aug. 11, 2019 and the responses were interesting to say the least. Asking if based on one’s experience regarding traffic last Sunday, you’d want to see the Ironman back. Interestingly, those who said no were those who were affected directly by Sunday’s traffic, caught on the road during the almost half-day road closures, while those who are for it are those who are directly involved—the marshalls, hotel staff, etc.
Though you really can’t gauge public perception based on social media thread, I think some of the comments--though some were snarky like “hold it at sea, so no one gets affected”--show valid concerns.
Also, I don’t think we can just readily blame those caught in the traffic jam since road closures were announced extensively in the local papers and social media. Announced or not, some of these guys had to be on the road on Sunday. Others caught in the jam were travelers who use Cebu as a transit point and were caught unaware.
To the credit of this year’s organizers though, there was no gridlock hours after the event as they immediately opened the roads when the last biker passed and informed the public about it. I remember in one edition, traffic on one bridge was still at standstill because everyone assumed the other bridge would still be closed.
You can’t eliminate traffic during the Ironman, but you certainly can minimize the inconvenience. One of the repeated questions we received in the days leading to the Ironman was how to get to the airport, so I think in future editions, announcements specifically addressing such concern can help ease those affected by the road closures.
Sure there are announcements of road closures etc., but for those who get to Lapu-Lapu City only to fly, it’s gibberish to them. So I hope that concerns gets addressed. Maybe some flyers or posters in the bus terminals and seaports offering travelers alternative routes to get from there to the airport and at the airport, the same flyers to get passengers from there to the bus terminals and sea ports.
I think most of those who could avoid being on the road on Sunday, avoided being on the road and the decision to immediately open the closed roads really helped a lot. If there are things that can be done to minimize traffic during the road closures, I think it’s already been done.
Some companies asked workers to come in early, before the road closure and that’s practical.
Based on some pronouncements, the Ironman is here to stay but there seems to be a growing “us vs. them” divide between those who are directly involved and those who get affected. I think the organizers can help that by holding CSR activities not only in Lapu-Lapu City but in Mandaue, Cebu and Talisay as well.
How? I don’t know. Maybe a swim or a running clinic for public school students in the affected cities? Anything that can help ease the divide and make the Cebuanos identify with the Ironman.