Saturday, July 31, 2021

Carvajal: Price of stupidity

ONE of the more exasperating things some drivers do is use the incoming lane (counterflow) when the outgoing lane is at a virtual standstill. It is downright stupid as the end result invariably is gridlock, both sides of the road occupied by cars facing one another.

What makes matters worse is it takes an agonizingly long time for traffic authorities like enforcer, tanod or policeman to show up, if they do at all, to clear up the mess.

This was exactly what happened Saturday late afternoon after Cebu’s first really heavy downpour along N. Bacalso Ave. in Basak, Pardo. I was southbound on the left-most lane where water was shallowest when I noticed the gridlock in the northbound lanes. It would seem like vehicles going south avoided the flood earlier by using the northbound lanes to go down on thus completely preventing northbound vehicles from getting through.

It would’ve been understandable and quite reasonable (because of the flood) to use one or two lanes and leave one or two lanes for northbound vehicles to use. But occupying all three lanes on the other side was really stupid. Moreover, I negotiated the half-kilometer flooded length of N. Bacalso Ave in nearly an hour, during which time I didn’t see any tanod or traffic enforcer or policeman come to help clear the mess.

Some critical lessons which concerned traffic authorities never seem to have learned include the following:

First, superiors of service and traffic personnel (tanods, enforcers and policemen) already know where these flood-prone areas are. They should be proactive and have a quick-response team at the ready if not to prevent gridlock-causing counter-flow at least to unravel the snarl created by it.

Second, drainage should be improved a hundred percent in these areas where gridlock usually occurs in the event of flooding.

Third, counter-flowing should be strictly and absolutely forbidden (with stiff penalties for violation) unless ordered by a supervising traffic authority. Only emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks and police cars should be allowed to go against traffic and only when they are responding to an emergency.

No amount of flyovers, underpasses and widened roads (as the all-knowing incoming mayor has unilaterally decided) can solve our traffic woes if drivers are allowed to go their stupid and undisciplined ways by traffic personnel who are hardly around when they’re most needed.

I didn’t pay any price this time for the stupidity of some drivers but I have lost precious time and nerves enough in the past for it. I hope the incoming administration can discipline both drivers and traffic managers to be where they should be when a traffic situation calls for reasonable restraint.

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