Monday July 23, 2018

Osmeña admits Cebu traffic situation has worsened

CEBU City Mayor Tomas Osmeña agreed with the survey result of Waze, tagging Cebu as the worst metro to drive in.

He said traffic got worst because the previous administration blocked attempts to construct several flyovers in the city.

“It (flyovers) would reduce or it would prevent the increase in traffic,” he told reporters in his news conference yesterday.

But the mayor admitted that the situation will only get worse if flyovers are built now because roads will have to be closed to pave the way for these projects.

Osmeña also said traffic in the city is a problem because of a “stupid” traffic enforcement of the “no left turn” policy.

It was implemented by then mayor Michael Rama, particularly along the Banilad-Talamban corridor, to address traffic congestion in the route.

Obsolete system

Osmeña also blamed the city’s obsolete traffic signal system as one of the reasons for the traffic problem, as well as the defective handling of jeepney routes.

“There is a parochial tendency that if you’re jeepney is from outside Cebu City, you can enter Cebu City. This creates two problems. One, it creates a relay because you have to go down to Cebu City. The bigger problem in the long haul is they’re not encouraged to live in Mandaue City or Talisay City because it is so hard to go to work. So they squat on our public lands and this creates more problems in the city,” he said.

On top of these, Osmeña said there is a problem now in areas certified by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority like the IT Park, saying they don’t have enough spaces for parking.

“They are king of themselves so now people park on the streets. And then there’s more buildings under construction and its going to get worst,” he said.

Bus routes

On how to address all these, the mayor said there is a need for the City Government to be very strict in requiring more parking slots for new constructions.

At the IT Park, he said talks are underway for the possible deployment of Ceres buses there from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. to address their problem on transportation as they find it hard to look for a ride in the wee hours of the night.

The bus, he said, will take them to Talisay City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, or the Pardo area, among others.

Also, he said, there is a need, among others, to strictly enforce parking rules, revive towing and clamping as well as upgrade the city’s traffic signal light system.

Waze, a navigation app, recently described Cebu in their Driver Satisfaction Index for 2016 as the world’s “least satisfying” metropolis to drive in.

Waze had surveyed 186 metropolitan areas all over the world.

No effect

However, Judy Gabato, Department of Tourism (DOT) 7 officer-in-charge, said that this will not affect the influx of local and foreign tourists.

Gabato told reporters that she does not believe that Cebu’s traffic is worst compared to Metro Manila, which was ranked by the navigation app at 170th.

“In fact, we are better off than Manila when it comes to traffic,” Gabato said.

However, Gabato, who was one of the guest speakers of the 2016 Cebu Tourism Stakeholders Summit organized by the Cebu Provincial Government, admitted that traffic is a problem in Cebu but it’s not a huge problem.

She said local government units and government agencies here are doing what they can to ease its effects on the public.

“They recognize it as a problem and they do what they can to improve it. Even national government agencies, such as DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways), are putting up road projects without hampering the traffic situation in key areas,” Gabato said.

Gabato said that as of the second quarter this year, the number of tourists to Central Visayas reached three million, more than halfway to the DOT’s regional target of 5.8 million visitors for this year.

Last year, around 3.3 million tourists visited Cebu.