Improve urban transport systems

A LEADING architecture firm Palafox Associates has proposed to the new administration a number of measures to improve urban transport systems, including the adoption of bus and jeepney rapid transits, with the goal of alleviating traffic congestion and maximizing business operations.

The firm noted that Metro Manila and emerging metropolises such as Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Clark, Subic, and Cagayan De Oro are "racing against time" in addressing sustainable urban and regional planning issues amid rapid urban population growth.

It thus urged the adoption of bus rapid transits with strict loading and unloading time and proper waiting platforms.

Palafox said the Philippines can learn from Bogota in Colombia and Seoul in South Korea which had previously the same traffic problems as Metro Manila.

"And realistically, building subways and trains is costly and takes so much time. Both countries, which are now boasting one of the best transport systems in the world, turned toward reinventing the bus system," it said.

Palafox added creating jeepney rapid transits in downtown and district transportation are also imperative as these can reduce traffic, increase travel speed and increase earnings of jeepneys.

It also proposed for revival of sidewalks by instructing cable companies to properly place their posts and wiring of cables as these become obstructions to pedestrians.

"Remodel overpass walkways, as many are poorly made. Wrong sizes of stairs, which are slippery and not well lit; don't allow illegal vendors in those areas. In central business districts, there should be dedicated bike lanes that private vehicles are not allowed to access," it added.

Palafox stressed that mass-transit systems should be built outward from the city.

"In order to avoid urban congestion and centralized city development, train lines should be accessible to other cities, to induce urban growth development," the firm said.

To reduce the overused and undersized Manila international airport, the architecture firm underscored the need to upgrade and utilize the Clark, Laoag, Cebu, Davao and Zamboanga airports.

It said the Batangas and Subic Ports should be utilized as well.

"Currently, most goods are dropped in the Manila Port, which is already suffering from over capacity. New pricing schemes and the cleansing of the customs can greatly affect the balance of truck operations delivering goods," it added.

Palafox also pushed for spatial development and vertical urbanism, including giving incentives in creating urban farms using the top floor of buildings in houses.

"lmagine Metro Manila adapting the Green Agenda of New York, it is for certain that there will be healthier locally grown food choices available in the area. Open spaces and parks could also be used as urban farms, instead of selling these "lungs of the city" to private developers," it further said.
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