WHY spend hundreds of millions of pesos on a traffic solution when one could possibly solve traffic by spending just a fraction of that?
Disabling traffic lights in some intersections, setting up U-turn slots and establishing flares and roundabouts are among the viable traffic solutions the Metro Cebu Development and Coordinating Board (MCDCB) task force will look into.
Created in 2011, the MCDCB is a coordinating body for metro-wide planning and development.
The task force, created during the MCDCB’s second full board meeting Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019, will “analyze, find and create” solutions to the traffic issues concerning the 63 intersections in Metro Cebu.
It will be composed of officials from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7, Land Transportation Office 7, Office of the Governor, local traffic management teams from Danao City in the north and Carcar City in the south, and representatives of the private sector.
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, who sits as chairperson of the MCDCB, said disabling some traffic lights could address vehicular congestion in national roads, particularly those that intersect with municipal roads.
She cited the Talisay City-Minglanilla town route, which oftentimes encounters traffic gridlock for hours due to the presence of three intersections with traffic lights.
“I believe there are several intersections that are wrongly signalized. But we can improve it further if we do away with these traffic lights altogether. Because for as long as you are made to stop, for traffic that should traverse, then buildup will happen. When and how can we do it? We can suggest that we do the U-turn, (and) have a certain line where pedestrians can cross,” Garcia said.
The creation of the task force comes ahead of the December holiday frenzy.
On Dec. 23, 2017, in what is now known as the “carmaggedon” of the south, motorists and commuters found themselves stuck for seven to 10 hours on the road due to several accidents that occurred in Talisay City and Minglanilla amid the Christmas rush of last-minute shoppers and people trying to get home to their hometowns.
The MCDCB task force is expected to present an update on its analysis to the rest of the board in their next meeting, which might be set in November or December.
As this developed, Garcia said the DPWH will “go back to their drawing boards” and reconsider her suggestion to build roundabouts as another form of traffic solution in busy intersections.
A roundabout is a road junction at which traffic moves in one direction around a central island to reach one of the roads converging on it.
Garcia reiterated that building a roundabout would be cheaper than constructing an interchange, which is a road junction that uses grade separation to permit traffic on at least one highway to pass through the junction without interruption from other crossing traffic streams.
During their meeting, Garcia said it was found that it would cost around P800 million to build an interchange with 400 linear meters of road.
The acquisition of 200 square meters of road for right-of-way for a roundabout, on the other hand, would cost just P9 million.
“You have to have proper study. But I ask the Filipino taxpayer, between a cost of P9 million and a cost of P800 million, shouldn’t the roundabout be given the benefit of a more serious study and not just be dismissed? Must we always stay (as a) Third World (country) because we always spend billions?” Garcia said. RTF