Cebu City Council seeks biz owners’ sentiments before approving CBRT’s link to the port feature

File photo
File photo

THE management of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) has asked the Cebu City Government to approve the project’s link to the port feature, but the council still has to know the sentiments of business owners who may be affected by the developments.

CBRT project manager Norvin Imbong wrote a letter, dated April 25, 2024, to then Vice Mayor and now Acting Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia, requesting the council’s comments about the feature.

He also asked the council to pass a document stating that it does not object to the developments to be made.

The link to the port feature of CBRT aims to improve pedestrian mobility in the downtown area of Cebu City. It covers a portion of Osmeña Blvd., starting from the corner of P. del Rosario St. to Plaza Independencia.

Imbong said in his letter that the feature includes widening sidewalks to at least 1.5 meters using paver blocks, installing a bike lane and streetlights, and constructing plant boxes or planting strips.

Based on the document submitted by Imbong to the council, the CBRT management identified several problems in the area that prompted this project:

* Street vendors blocking parts of the area: This hinders pedestrian mobility.

* Insufficient street lighting: The surroundings are dark, posing safety concerns.

* Congestion during Friday and Sunday masses: Numerous vehicles park around Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño, and large crowds walk along the streets, causing congestion.

Due to these concerns, Imbong said the CBRT management aims to improve the urban quality of the old downtown and attract investors and tourists, provide transport services to the port which will help commuters and tourists to access or reach other city destinations, and improve the BRT ridership and connectivity in the city.

The council, instead of responding to Imbong’s request, called for an executive session on Thursday, June 13, 2024, to further discuss the project.

City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, during the regular session last Wednesday, May 15, was the one who requested an executive session with owners of business establishments located along the stretch of the CBRT project’s link to the port feature.

Pesquera also invited Imbong, representatives from the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO), and the management of Plaza Independencia and Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño.

Heritage district

The feature is in line with Cebu City’s goal of pedestrianization of the city’s heritage district, which is in the downtown area.

Imbong also earlier said that no BRT buses will traverse the route.

Some officials were not sold out to the CBRT’s link to the port feature. City Councilor James Anthony Cuenco said he will object to asphalting existing roads that are “evidently still in good order and condition.”

Cuenco said such a plan would be a waste of public funds.

CCTO Legal Officer Kent Jongoy has said the feature will affect the existing traffic flow in the area. / JJL

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