JUST how do you solve the traffic problem in Fuente Osmeña?
The problem caused partly by vehicles that park and stop on the road has long frustrated Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, but he hopes that another suggested solution will work this time.
Just a week after an experimental parking scheme was implemented outside the Fuente Osmeña circle, the City Government will again modify the parking and stopping rules there.
Starting today, only diagonal parking will be allowed on a designated parking bay across the Rajah Park Hotel and nearby establishments.
The outermost lane, the lane beside the sidewalk, will strictly be a no-parking lane to make way for vehicles that will drive by to drop off or pick up passengers.
Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) Executive Director Victor Caindec said yesterday that the parking scheme will be modified again, after owners of establishments complained to the mayor that their businesses were affected by the new parking rules and the reduced number of parking spaces.
The parallel-parking-only scheme was implemented last Jan. 12, as traffic ahead of the Sinulog festivities began to build up.
The mayor told a news conference yesterday that the new parking scheme suggested by the manager of the Rajah Park Hotel makes sense, and he wants it implemented today.
“The parking scheme in Fuente starting today will be exactly like what is being implemented at the Mactan airport… All the vehicles will have to park diagonally, with the nose (of the car) going in first,” Rama said.
Double parking will not be allowed, he added, and he warned that erring drivers will be apprehended immediately by traffic enforcers who will monitor traffic in the area around the clock.
“All the vehicles dropping off or picking up passengers on the outermost lane will have to turn right and go all the way to the Capitol. Otherwise, a traffic jam will occur,” the mayor said.
In a phone interview last night, Caindec said the new parking scheme is still part of the series of changes they are making at the roundabout to ensure continuous traffic flow there.
They hope to address the concerns of the business establishments that have been affected. He said the business owners discussed their concerns with the mayor, which prompted the latter to try another scheme.
“There are business interests that have somehow been affected by the modified traffic and parking scheme because of the reduced parking spaces so we continue to identify solutions that will reduce traffic, protect the pedestrians… we also want to increase parking capacity in that area,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.
Aside from two hotels, there are three pharmacies, at least five fast food chains, several office buildings and two malls around the circle.
Caindec said the number of parking spaces available when the parallel parking was implemented was only about one-third of the original number of parking spaces.
At 6:30 a.m. today, Citom and Department of Engineering and Public Works (DEPW) personnel will join the mayor at the site for the implementation of the new scheme.
The parking spaces will be marked as vehicles come to park.
Caindec said they will focus on the Fuente Osmeña area in the coming days. The center island and concrete barriers on the part of Gen. Maxilom Ave. that leads to Fuente will also be removed.
“We need to ensure a continuous traffic flow there because Gen. Maxilom and the Fuente Osmeña circle area is a vital road network that leads to hospitals. You cannot count the number of ambulances that pass that area every day,” he said.
The two entry points of the Fuente Osmeña circle will also be moved since pedestrians crossing to the park aggravate the traffic problem in the area.
At present, the gate of the Fuente Osmeña circle is directly across the Rajah Park Hotel, where vehicles stop or park.
Rama said the gate will have to be moved a few meters away so that the pedestrian lane can be moved to less busy area of the circle.
Also yesterday, Rama challenged the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 to do something about the skywalks that obstruct sidewalks across the city.
The congestion on the sidewalks was emphasized during the Sinulog celebration, he said, when pedestrians spilled over to the road.
He said the stairs of the skywalks block the pedestrian lanes and sidewalks.
The mayor said that some skywalks have become an eyesore and a public security concern, and most of them are not even serving their purpose.
“Explain why this is so. It’s a project of the DPWH and the congressmen responsible for these projects are even proud of them… The skywalks are not being utilized and they’re just a waste of public funds… I’m challenging the DPWH to do something about it,” said Rama.
In the same news conference, the mayor admonished utility firms to remove all posts that obstruct the sidewalks.
Aside from being an eyesore, the mayor said, these posts render the sidewalks useless since pedestrians are forced to walk on the road.
“I will declare war against these utility firms if the posts are not removed immediately,” said Rama.