THE Land Transportation Office (LTO) offered to help find solutions to Mandaue City’s traffic jams, while one of Metro Cebu’s traffic managers proposed trying a number-coding or color-coding scheme.
LTO 7 Director Arnel Tancinco said the agency will first conduct a “traffic volume count” to find out how many vehicles use the city’s main roads at specific hours.
This will help determine how many enforcers are needed in which areas.
Asked for his suggestions on Metro Cebu’s growing traffic problem, Frank Brazil, chief of the Lapu-Lapu City Traffic Management System, suggested trying a number-coding or color-coding scheme to limit the number of vehicles on the road.
He also suggested more regulations on the sale and purchase of vehicles. “The entry of surplus cars from other countries should be restricted,” Brazil said.
“More people are buying cars but our roads are not getting wider,” he said. Other countries, like Singapore, strictly regulate the purchase of cars as part of traffic management.
From 2010 to 2013, the number of vehicles registered in Central Visayas increased by 130,930, about 94 percent of which were private vehicles. (The data set posted on the Department of Transportation and Communication website did not break down the figures by province or city.)
The number of private vehicles registered in Region 7 went up from 466,826 in 2010 to 589,669 in 2013. For-hire vehicles also increased from 49,102 to 54,287 in those three years.
According to the LTO director, LTO will only assist the Mandaue City Government because traffic management has been devolved to the local government.
LTO personnel, he added, conferred with the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (TEAM) on the traffic volume count but they were referred to coordinate with the City Planning Office.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes recently announced a plan to ban tricycles from operating on national highways, pursuant to a Department of Interior and Local Government memorandum issued in 2007.
Tancinco observed that the main corridors in Mandaue City are the Cebu North Road (from Barangay Subangdaku to Consolacion town) and the Mandaue Reclamation Road, with links to Plaridel St. and United Nations Ave.
Both corridors are used by motorists bound for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.
Tancinco said he will meet with Mayor Cortes once the traffic volume study is completed. It will include recommendations on the use of traffic signs.
Glenn Antigua, chief of TEAM, said he has doubts about using a number and color-coding scheme to ease traffic.
“It might encourage people to buy more cars, and that will only worsen traffic,” he told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday.
Brazil, in a separate interview, said the scheme should be given a chance. He recalled he was one of those who suggested the scheme to the Mactan-Cebu Bridge Management Board in 2008 to decongest the two bridges connecting Cebu and Mactan.
“We should give it a try. It’s a trial and error process,” he said.
Brazil said he has high hopes for the proposed mass transit systems in Cebu, like the light rail transit, metro rail transit and bus rapid transit.
“If we have mass transit, roads can be decongested,” he said.
For his part, Antigua said Team will implement alternative schemes to ease traffic in the city, which has seen prolonged traffic jams in recent months.
Team will implement a one-way scheme on two roads starting August as a 60-day traffic experiment.
Last Wednesday, the City Council passed a resolution allowing Team to implement a dry run that will make S.B. Cabahug St. and the J.P. Burgos St. into one-way roads.
Under the scheme, only vehicles going to the Pacific Mall and beyond can use S.B. Cabahug St., starting from Jollibee Centro; and only vehicles going to City Hall and beyond can take P.J. Burgos St. from the Pacific Mall.
Antigua said the scheme can decongest Plaridel St., where massive traffic jams occur because of road and drainage works, since S.B. Cabahug St. will become an attractive route for motorists going to the north.
The new traffic plan also includes allowing vehicles going to Cebu City to use lanes below the Maguikay flyover on M.C. Briones St. and devoting one lane on for an uninterrupted traffic flow from the north at the intersection of M.C. Briones St. and U.N. Ave.
According to 2010 study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, about 377,000 trips pass through Mandaue City every day.