THE Movement for a Livable Cebu (MLC) joined a call for Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama not to remove around 30 trees in the middle of Pope John Paul Ave.
Officials from MLC met with the mayor last Tuesday night to present a proposal to solve traffic in the area and at the same time, spare most of the trees.
Mayor Rama’s call for solutions to the city’s traffic problems has also received many responses online, after he first brought up his plan to remove the trees on the center island from the corner of Cardinal Rosales Ave. to Gov. Cuenco Ave.
In an interview yesterday, MLC convenor Marc Canton said they want that only portions of the center island be removed, specifically where there are choke points.
He said the choke points are located near the ends of the center island, near the intersection with the Ayala access road and under the flyover near the Tesda compound.
“We will present a design to him that will not affect the whole center island, so that majority of the trees will not be cut,” Canton said.
The MLC was one of the leading voices in the campaign to stop the construction of more flyovers in Cebu City. According to its website, it is also in consultation with the City on the final feasibility studies and detailed engineering designs for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT); it is also campaigning for wider, safer and better-maintained sidewalks.
Online, a discussion on the mayor’s proposal to move the trees has also attracted at least 89 answers as of 4 p.m. in in Sun.Star Cebu’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/cebusunstar), where the news item was posted.
The mayor has said he planned to have the trees earth-balled and moved to a City-owned lot in the reclamation area.
A number of Facebook users noted that traffic is caused by abusive jeepney drivers who pick up passengers away from PUJ stops; illegally parked vehicles; non-implementation of traffic rules; and the existence of too many vehicles for present roads, among others.
Facebook user Mark E M Samson suggested, “Go with a bus system. Eliminate jeepneys especially on main roads. Ban trucks during peak hours. MRT (Metro Rail Transit) system. Well-planned road expansion not just during the election season.”
“Traffic discipline. Spread out the business districts so the population density and traffic congestion eases. Spread out standard business hours for the working population instead of the standard (working hours),” Samson also commented.
A Korean firm is currently doing the detailed engineering design for the planned P10.6-billion BRT system in Cebu City.
Facebook users Drea G. Avila and Gelbolingo Wyndale want a color-coding system implemented, which is the ban on some vehicles on a particular day based on their plate numbers.
Facebook user Leo Macasero said, “Cut your hair instead of cutting trees, mayor.”
Facebook user Alex Kim also commented, “Stop issuing permits for road rehabilitation (even when it’s not needed). Many of the roads here in Cebu that are economically stable are being rehabilitated even if there’s no need for it. Totally a waste of taxpayers’ money.”
Mayor Rama earlier disclosed his plan in the context of preparations for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in Cebu from August to October and the International Eucharistic Congress in January next year.
According to Canton, some MLC members will walk with the mayor through Pope John Paul Ave. soon. They also want to conduct an inventory of the trees.
Rama, in his regular news conference yesterday, said the road has become a funnel for vehicles coming from Mandaue City, among other areas.
He also clarified that only half of the center island, from Ayala intersection to the flyover, will be removed.
The mayor welcomed, though, the MLC’s plan to provide an alternative that will solve traffic in the area. “I am happy that they are coming up with an urban design for the area,” he said.
He said they will conduct the walk-through once he gets back from Manila.