THE pedestrianization of Session Road is under thorough study to address business and traffic concerns, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan said recently.
The mayor said the city's main road's pedestrianization has long been proposed at the City Council due to environmental, particularly air pollution issues, but opposed by the business community in the area.
The move was initiated in the City Council sometime in the 90s and again in 2009 but was rejected due to "cleanliness, sewerage, security and safety," issues.
If pedestrianization pushes through, the city's main street will bar vehicles and interspersed with ornamental and green areas. Session Road as a walking park is also being considered. Another suggestion was "car-less holidays".
Alternative routes including the circumferential road are being considered. Studies are also being conducted by the Transport and Traffic Management Committee (TTMC) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for a tramline and monorail system. The routes are seen to skip the central business district (CBD), travel towards the outskirts of the city; but to tourist destinations within Benguet province and beyond.
The proposed pedestrianization has been brought to light due to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, which earlier tagged the city as having the "most polluted air in the country."
"We are doing everything and working with different agencies, the Roadside Testing and Monitoring Team (RTMT), anti-smoking ordinance, the National Greening Program (NGP) to ensure the decrease of air pollution in the city," the mayor earlier said.
"Less exhaust is expected with properly-maintained vehicles, while more trees planted as to the NGP assures us of purer air," the mayor said during an Alay Sa Kalinisan (ASK) meeting.
The city has also conducted meetings with the Baguio-La Trinidad-Itogon-Sablan-Tuba-Tublay (BLISTT) airshed committee for programs to minimize air pollution in the area. (Julie Fianza)