Briones: Christmas traffic

TRAFFIC.

It’s a great social equalizer.

No one is immune to it.

Not the rich in their chauffeured vehicles. Not the up-and-coming bourgeoisie in their tiny toy cars. Not the members of the proletariat in their motorcycles.

Road gridlocks are common in Metro Cebu, but the situation takes a turn for the worse in the lead-up to Christmas.

The recent data released by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 might explain a few things.

According to the agency, Cebu now has more than half a million registered motor vehicles and motorcycles. That doesn’t take into account the vehicles that are off the grid.

In the last 11 months, 167,889 vehicles and motorcycles were added to the 406,930 registered vehicles running on the metro’s streets.

Let’s look at where the 406,930 registered vehicles are distributed: 112,888 in Cebu City; 41,606 in Mandaue City; 45,806 in Lapu-Lapu City; 86,445 in Talisay City; 53,021 in Carcar City; 20,452 in Danao City; 17,548 in Toledo City; and 29,164 in Medellin.

I know. The last figures had me stumped, too.

Somehow, it’s hard to believe that a second-class municipality in the fourth congressional district of Cebu with a population of 55,332, based on a 2015 census, would have 29,164 registered vehicles.

But that’s not my point.

I’m sure residents of the northern town don’t complain about bumper-to-bumper traffic on its two-lane roads that are flanked by rows and rows of sugarcane.

Not unlike their counterparts here in the metro who have no choice but to while away the time listening to music, playing games on their cellphones, noshing on their favorite junk food or reading a book while they wait for the traffic to crawl.

But I think it’s unfair to blame the congestion entirely on the rise in the number of vehicles.

There are other culprits.

For starters, let’s look at all those motorists who ignore traffic laws. The ones who stop on “no stopping” signs. Or park on “tow-away” zones.

Until now, vehicles continue to double-park on R. Landon St., particularly that stretch from the corner of Pelaez St. to Osmeña Blvd.

Even Osmeña Blvd. is not spared from this infraction. Just check out the curb in front of the Camp Sergio Osmeña. Usually, the lane is occupied by private and red-plate vehicles on Thursdays, causing a bottleneck as motorists crossing the R. Landon intersection on three lanes are forced to squeeze into two lanes.

Apparently, our men and women in blue believe they’re exempted from traffic regulations.

But if it’s any consolation, the traffic spares no one. Not even the police.
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