Caution urged as CBRT delays lamppost removal

Caution urged as CBRT delays lamppost removal
File photo

MOTORISTS traversing the downtown section of Osmeña Blvd. in Cebu City should continue to exercise caution to avoid the lampposts built in the middle of the road, as the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) management has yet to remove them.

Meanwhile, Cebu City Councilor Jerry Guardo, in a phone interview on Sunday, June 23, 2024, said the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the CBRT proponent, is already in the process of obtaining the required permits for the lampposts.

CBRT project manager Norvin Imbong, in a separate phone interview on Sunday, said a decision will still be made next week on whether the lampposts will stay or be removed.

Imbong also said he would refrain from commenting further, as the matter is still “on hold.”

Acting Cebu City Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, in an interview on Thursday, June 20, told SunStar Cebu that he ordered the removal of the lampposts at the soonest possible time, as these “pose a danger to pedestrians and commuters alike.”

The lampposts, part of the link-to-port component of the CBRT project, have been a subject of discussion after the city council pointed out that these were built without a City Hall permit.

Garcia on Thursday said he asked Imbong to focus and work first on the pedestrianization and the bicycle lane before putting up the lampposts. The acting mayor said Imbong agreed with his instruction.

Imbong previously said he received Garcia’s approval for the project, but Garcia clarified that although he gave the go-ahead, the CBRT management still needed to obtain the required clearances: approval from the city council for the road closure, a permit from the Department of Engineering and Public Works for the excavation and clearance from the CCTO for the new route.

Meeting, ocular inspection

Meanwhile, Guardo said Acting Mayor Garcia will address the issue on Monday afternoon, June 24. Invitations have been extended to the Cebu City Transportation Office, Engineering Department, City Planning, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, City Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission, Department of Tourism, stakeholders, bus and jeepney operators, and the DOTr for a meeting at 1:30 p.m.

Guardo added that they are planning to conduct an ocular inspection within the coming week, along with the Technical Infrastructure Committee board and the proponent, to assess specific areas where the lampposts can be installed.

“There are certain lampposts nga gi install nila sa wide roads that do not cause so much obstruction sa traffic lang. But the rest, if it causes inconvenience at the moment, then the board can recommend its removal,” said Guardo.

(There are certain lampposts installed on wide roads that do not cause much obstruction to traffic. However, if the rest cause inconvenience at the moment, then the board can recommend their removal.)

Pedestrianization

Moreover, Guardo said that despite various comments, the BRT project, specifically the installation of lampposts, is aligned with the city’s goal of pedestrianizing the historical sites.

Pedestrianization is the process of making an urban street into an area intended only for walking people, not vehicles.

In an earlier statement on its Facebook page, the CBRT management said they aim to support the city’s vision of maximizing the potential of the business district along Osmeña Blvd. They intend to revitalize this area through pedestrianization from N. Bacalso (P. del Rosario Junction) to Plaza Independencia, a project known as link-to-port.

Guardo said that it has been a long time since the City Government announced the need to pedestrianize historical sites, including the vicinity of Sto. Niño, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral, Magellan’s Cross, City Hall’s Plaza Sugbu, and part of the Plaza Independencia.

Guardo said the only thing that sparked the controversy about the installed lampposts was the project’s lack of permit.

The lampposts were installed in the middle of the road because of the ‘Link to the Port’ feature on Osmeña Blvd. This feature entails reducing the four-lane roads of Osmeña Blvd. in the downtown area to two-lane roads, accommodating a higher number of pedestrians and fewer motor vehicles.

“Ang nahitabo man gud nauna ang installation and the public has not yet been informed about the direction or the plan of the city government to declare that pedestrianized district,” said Guardo.

(What happened was that the installation happened first, and the public has not yet been informed about the direction or the plan of the city government to declare that pedestrianized district.)

When asked what the motorists would do in the meantime, Guardo said this would be determined after the scheduled meeting on Monday. / JPS

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