Ordinance regulating vehicular traffic passes first reading

E-BIKES. Cebu City police are recommending to market officials to regulate the entry of electric bicycles within the vicinity of the Carbon Public Market as a deterrent to traffic jams there. / Amper Campaña
E-BIKES. Cebu City police are recommending to market officials to regulate the entry of electric bicycles within the vicinity of the Carbon Public Market as a deterrent to traffic jams there. / Amper Campaña

The Bacolod City Council approved the car-free Sundays ordinance of Bacolod City on the first reading.

The ordinance was authored by Councilor Celia Matea Flor, chairperson of the City Council Committee on Senior Citizens and Veterans’ Affairs.

Flor said the city recognizes the need to promote healthier lifestyles and foster community well-being through increased physical activity and social interaction.

She said reducing vehicular traffic can significantly lower air pollution levels, thereby improving air quality and contributing to a cleaner and healthier environment.

“Creating car-free zones encourages alternative modes of transportation such as walking and biking, which are environmentally friendly and help reduce the city’s carbon footprint,” she added.

Flor stressed that the temporary restriction of vehicular traffic on Lacson Street from BS Aquino Drive to South Capitol Road on Sundays between 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. provides a safe and enjoyable space for pedestrians, cyclists, and pets to engage in recreational activities.

Flor noted that other cities around the world have successfully implemented similar car-free initiatives, resulting in positive public health and environmental outcomes.

She said the community has expressed support for initiatives that promote sustainable transportation and enhance the quality of urban life.

She added that this initiative aligns with the city’s long-term goals of promoting sustainability, enhancing public spaces, and improving the overall quality of life for its residents.

Section 3 of the proposed ordinance states that Lacson Street, from Corner BS Aquino Drive to Corner South Capitol Road, shall be designated as a car-free zone every Sunday from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. During these hours, only pedestrians, cyclists, and pets are permitted within the designated car-free zone

Cyclists must maintain a safe and controlled speed, not exceeding 15 km/h (9mph), to ensure the safety of all road users. Cyclists should reduce speed when approaching areas with a high concentration of pedestrians or pets.

Section 4 of the proposed ordinance also states that appropriate signage and barriers shall be installed to inform the public and enforce the car-free zone. The Bacolod Traffic Authority Office, in coordination with the Bacolod City Police Office, shall be responsible for implementing and monitoring compliance with this ordinance.

On Sunday, June 9, the city will start the experiment of the “car-free Sunday” scheme at Lacson Street.

Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez earlier said that this would be for four hours every Sunday to allow pedestrians, joggers, and bikers to roam a 1.2-kilometer stretch of Lacson Street to enjoy the scenery.

“June is an environment month, and we know the biggest contributors to climate change and greenhouse effect are the pollutants coming from vehicles,” he said.*

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