CEBU -- A scientific study on Cebu City traffic will guide city planners on how to effectively solve the congestion in the Banilad-Talamban (BanTal) corridor.

As things are, traffic schemes are being carried out without data and statistics.

These were the points raised during an executive session of the City Council wherein representatives of the affected private sector were invited to speak.

City councilors agreed on the need for a study after Councilor Alvin Arcilla pointed out that the “no left turn” policy being implemented by the City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) is not supported by data such as a vehicular count, among others.

“There should be a scientific approach to it. If you live in that area, you will notice that every now and then, there are changes in the traffic scheme. They keep changing it without any basis. There should be a proper data in decision making,” he said.

In an executive session Thursday, businessman Bunny Pages said experts’ opinion are needed to effectively address the heavy flow of traffic in BanTal.

Pages heads the BanTal Task Force created by Mayor Michael Rama.

“What we’re doing now is just experimenting and not getting the whole picture. We need experts to map the whole thing out. We need assistance,” he said.

The council called for an executive session Thursday to get an update on the traffic situation in BanTal.

Aside from tapping experts, Pages said the council should pressure the Department of Public Works and Highways-Central Visayas to immediately implement the P150-million road widening at BanTal to decongest traffic.

He said the 35 lot owners have expressed willingness to give road right of way for the project to start.

Pages also sought the council’s help in addressing the concern on the 35 trees, which the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Central Visayas said should not be cut when the road is widened. They also want the City to do something about the 139 posts of the Visayan Electric Co. that will be affected by the project.

Another problem in BanTal, Pages said, is that there are many jeepneys plying the route but there are no pocket lanes where they can stop.

Enrique Abellana, president of the Ma. Luisa Estate Park Homeowners Association, raised the same concern.

He said jeepney drivers stop indiscriminately, stalling the vehicles behind them.

“There should be a strict enforcement made on the streets because jeepneys disregard rules on no loading and unloading. The drivers of these jeepneys should be fined,” Abellana said.

“While the no left turn policy has improved the traffic, the jeepneys have not been controlled, stopping even at a no stopping sign,” he added.

Abellana asked the City Government to review the implementation of the “no left turn” policy as it has created chokepoints in some areas, such as the street outside Paradise Village and A.S. Fortuna St. The two streets are among the left turn and U-turn slots designated by the City.

For their part, Jose Baronia Jr., president of Holy Family Village I and II, suggested to make the Banilad flyover a one-way flyover catering only to vehicles going to the city proper.

This is because the number of vehicles going to the city proper from Talamban is more than double compared to that of Talamban-bound vehicles, he said.

Arcilla said, though, that before initiating another change in the traffic scheme, an actual traffic count and traffic volume in the area be determined first.

Before the executive session ended Thursday, Arcilla said he has written the University of San Carlos to do the traffic study. (PDF/Sun.Star Cebu)