Mendoza-Maghari: Roads reclaiming their purpose

I COME upon this intersection each day. As I slow down almost to a halt, I strain my neck trying to see as far as I can while blowing the horn a couple of times praying all the while that no car or tricycle would come bearing down on us from the sides.

You see, no matter how I try, I’m blind from both sides as rows of vehicles are parked on the streets! Even the corners are occupied by cars parked sideways, as if the owners are a third finger to anyone who dares point out this violation.

Drive around the city and you will see more of this. Roads are being used as parking lots and extensions of some establishments.

Quick question: Are they paying some special fee we don’t know about so they can have private use of what should be public roads?

I keep reviewing my tax reports in the hope that I may be able to enjoy the same benefits. I find none.

My curiosity increased as did my resolve to research more on this thing we call public roads as the news got flooded with road clearing efforts not only in Metro Manila but all over the country. What has been a hazardous practice tolerated for decades are now being put on the spotlight and actions are being made.

A spark started by one leader with enough political will has ignited a nationwide call for reclaiming the roads and streets for what they have been truly made for – to aid an efficient flow of traffic whether that be people on foot or for the driving public.

Roads, highways, streets, pathways, lanes, and other forms of paved structures are built to usher economic progress and elevate the way of life for the WHOLE community. They are NOT for the exclusive use and enjoyment of a chosen few. They are NOT up for grabs just because they are conveniently located nearby, adjacent to, or fronting your property.

Walkways are supposed to protect pedestrians from being hit by cars. Bike lanes are supposed to protect bikers. Crossroads and pedestrian lanes are supposed to make it easier for commuters to pass through streets. Garages and parking lots are supposed to be the proper places to park cars (which is why the “No Garage, No Car” policy may be exactly what’s needed).

Although it is recognized that there are some arguments regarding this, the fact remains that blocked pathways and roads are not only obstacles to general business and commerce, they are also the deadly cause of traffic accidents and major health concerns as garbage and rodents often thrive there. All these clearings are not there to offend anyone or steal a livelihood. It is simply giving back to the road its real purpose. It is simply giving back to the public what is meant for the public.

As the roads reclaim their true value, may we also reclaim as a community our sense of respect and spirit of cooperation.


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