‘Link to the Port’ seen to worsen downtown traffic

‘Link to the Port’ seen to worsen downtown traffic
File photo

ALTHOUGH the construction of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (CBRT) project’s “Link to the Port” feature has yet to begin, several motorists and officials are already anticipating its negative effects on the traffic in the downtown area.

The feature, according to CBRT project manager Norvin Imbong, will start at the intersection of P. del Rosario St./N. Bacalso Ave. and Osmeña Blvd. to M.J. Cuenco Ave. in front of the Plaza Independencia.

Imbong, in a text message to SunStar Cebu on Friday, April 5, 2024, said the stretch will be improved by asphalting the road, fixing the drainage system, and installing street lights.

He also clarified that no BRT buses will traverse the route.

Imbong said the road will be closed once implementation starts, but its effect will only be “minimal.”

“Kapag may road closure the effect is minimal kasi (If there is road closure the effect is minimal as the) asphalting will be done in the evening,” he said.

Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) legal officer Kent Francesco Jongoy, in a chat message to SunStar Cebu on Sunday, April 7, pointed out that the “Link to the Port” feature will also include extending the sidewalk, which “will greatly affect the existing traffic flow in the area.”

Jongoy said the City Government has only approved the asphalting, adding that the sidewalk extension design is still subject for approval.

The road closure will start at the intersection of P. Del Rosario St./ N. Bacalso Ave. and Osmeña Blvd. to M.J. Cuenco Ave. in front of the Plaza Independencia.

That stretch is one of the busiest streets in the city as it connects the downtown area to the uptown area. It is usually filled with all sorts of public utility vehicles (PUVs) as well as private vehicles.

Noeh Godinez, who passes Osmeña Blvd. every day to get to his work in Lapu-Lapu City, said he welcomed the installation of street lights in the area, but he questioned the need to asphalt the road.

Godinez, who rides a motorcycle to work, said the move may worsen traffic congestion.

“There’s no need to destroy the road and asphalt it because there’s nothing wrong with the road in the Colon area. If they proceed with asphalting, this will only add to the existing traffic in the area,” he said in Cebuano.

Another motorist was confused as to why the downtown area was included in the CBRT project when none of its roads are part of the route.

“It will only cause heavy traffic, considering the narrow road in Colon area while there are so many jeepney stops and pedestrian,” said John Aguaviva.

Cebu City Councilor James Anthony Cuenco, in a text message to SunStar Cebu on Sunday, said he is aware of the “Link to the Port” feature.

He said he will only object to asphalting existing roads that are “evidently still in good order and condition.”

He said the council learned during its executive session last Wednesday, April 3, that there was no need to destroy the existing road and apply new cement for the bus lanes along the first package route since the new cemented roads are still on the same level as those that were destroyed.

“Such wasteful practice of spending public funds, not to mention the gross inconvenience it has caused the public, should be condemned and those found responsible be held accountable,” he said.

Jongoy said this part of the project should have been discussed during the inception of the construction in 2023 so the CCTO could prepare a traffic management plan, particularly to address PUV routes.

PUVs coming from the southern part of Cebu City, including those coming from cities of Naga and Talisay, pass by the Osmeña Blvd. and the downtown area.

However, he said there will be no road closure as long as the design is not amenable to the City Government.

Jongoy said some portions of Osmeña Blvd. going to the Plaza Independencia require maintenance, but since it is a national road, it is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Imbong said on Sunday that they are still waiting for the City to approve the “Link to the Port” feature, which is in line with Cebu City’s goal to pedestrianize the city’s heritage district, which is the downtown area.

On Saturday, April 6, the CBRT posted on its Facebook page that construction of the bus station near the Cebu Normal University has already started, while the infrastructure works on the foundation of the bus station near the Cebu South Bus Terminal are nearing completion. / JJL


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