Emergency declaration, carpool as ‘fixes’ to traffic woes

A STATE of emergency will have to be declared to allow public utility jeepneys (PUJ) to use the Cebu South Coastal Road in Cebu City.

For the declaration to be made, the Cebu City Transportation Office needs to write the City Council. An ordinance currently prohibits PUJs from using the coastal road.

When sought for comment, the minority councilors said they are supportive of Mayor Tomas Osmeña’s proposal to allow PUJs to use the CSCR.

Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, who is from the south district, said their situation is more than an emergency.

“The mayor can do that to reduce traffic congestion. It can be a temporary solution because our situation is more than just an emergency,” she said.

Since construction of an underpass project started, most of the vehicles have been using the coastal road. Portions of N. Bacalso Ave. were closed, and PUJs were diverted to E. Sabellano St. after F. Llamas St. was also closed to vehicles.

Because the temporary access roads are narrow, drivers and commuters have been suffering from a heavy traffic situation in that area.

“They didn’t have a traffic plan for this and they did not anticipate the traffic that would be brought about by the (underpass) project,” said Councilor Joel Garganera.

For Councilors Jose Daluz III and Raymond Garcia, it would be better if buses would be allowed to use the coastal road, instead of jeepneys.

“We can ask for a special franchise for this, for a limited period of time. A bus that will transport passengers on the coastal road to certain areas (can be requested for),” Daluz said.

Garcia agreed with the suggestion, saying there is also a need to put up proper bus stops to manage traffic on the coastal road.

For his part, Osmeña said that City Hall will try all means to improve traffic flow and that he is looking into the possibility of allowing City Hall employees from the south district to car-pooling, as one way to lessen traffic congestion on the road to the city.

City Hall can deploy a bus to transport them to work in the morning and send them home in the afternoon, he said.

Talisay’s side

Meanwhile, officials of the City of Talisay Traffic Operation Development Authority (CT-TODA) asked the public for understanding as traffic congestion is expected once public utility jeepneys will start using the coastal road, reportedly on Wednesday.

Engr. Almond Keith Dela Peña, CT-TODA head, told reporters that he and other city officials have agreed on the plan with Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 Director Ahmed Cuizon.

Dela Peña said that Cuizon met with him and other city officials last Thursday afternoon to request changing some routes in preparation for what will happen on Wednesday.

Based on what Cuizon told them, at least 20 PUJs that ply to and from Talisay City and another 20 that ply only to and from Barangay Tabunok are expected to use the coastal road.

Dela Peña said that jeepneys that go to and from Barangay Poblacion Pardo are also expected to use the coastal road, but the number of units has yet to be confirmed.

Dela Peña said that once all jeepneys going toward Talisay and Tabunok will start using the coastal road, gridlock may develop.

For now, CT-TODA is looking for areas within the CSCR that could be used as loading and unloading zones.

Results of their meeting with Cuizon were immediately shared with Talisay City Mayor Eduardo Gullas and City Administrator Atty. Rudelyn Navarro.
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