Briones: Traffic woes

Publio J. Briones III
Publio J. Briones III

Traffic along Osmeña Blvd. has been horrendous since work on Package 1 of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit project began earlier this year.

Some portions of the once wide thoroughfare have been reduced to one lane, resulting in bottlenecks.

But I do believe we are resilient people, and it has been a few months. So I think motorists have gotten used to it by now.

Many probably avoid this particular part of the city, especially during rush hour, unless they have important business in the area.

For pedestrians like me, crossing the boulevard has become a game of cat and mouse. The zebra lines, or the pedestrian crossings, are mostly gone. I have to be extra careful when I take my first step.

Many drivers don’t even bother to slow down even when they see you 100 meters away. I can understand that perhaps many are just eager to get to their destination, especially if they had just spent the last half hour stuck in a jam. But trust me, running over someone isn’t worth it.

I would like to single out motorcycle drivers because I see them violating so many rules and regulations. It seems they believe the law doesn’t apply to them.

Many don’t stop when they see a pedestrian in the middle of the road. Some do slow down, but I think it is more like a cue to the pedestrian to hurry up and get out of the way. I should know, I’m writing from experience.

When traffic is at a standstill, they use the sidewalk even though half of the sidewalk has been cordoned off and has been excavated. I’ve brought this up many times before, but the problem has never been addressed.

I do understand the Cebu City Transportation Office has a lot on its plate. And I know it doesn’t have the manpower to go after all road violators.

I do see some enforcers talking in the shade. I get that it’s dangerous for them to be exposed to direct sunlight for a long period of time, but they can at least do their job while they’re there.

Although I occasionally see an enforcer direct traffic at the intersection of R.R. Landon St., which, by the way, is very problematic.

In most cases, vehicles trying to get across cannot because their path is blocked by vehicles going downtown.

Drivers should know that they must always keep the intersection clear because a blocked intersection is one of the major causes of traffic congestion. Even if the traffic light is “green,” they must stop until the traffic ahead starts to move.

Of course, there are always exceptions, but these drivers are rare. Apparently, Filipinos chuck courtesy out of the window and transform into Mr. Hyde as soon as they get in the driver’s seat.

Yeah, that’s what’s needed. Courtesy. And that doesn’t only apply to drivers. Pedestrians too must do their part. So avoid jaywalking. After all, it’s not only their life they’re risking.

As I have said, the traffic will only get worse before it can get better, especially with the announcement that the completion date of Package 1 has been moved from the end of 2023 to the first quarter of 2024, assuming there won’t be other delays.

In the meantime, just buckle up, and try to enjoy the ride.


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