Traffic rerouted for Sinulog; Gwen adamant, won't shut South Bus Terminal

Traffic rerouted for Sinulog; Gwen adamant, won't shut South Bus Terminal
File photo

THE Cebu City Government on Thursday advised motorists going south via the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR) to take alternative routes on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024, as it will close a portion of the southbound lane to accommodate participants and spectators of the Sinulog Grand Parade and Ritual Showdown at the South Road Properties (SRP) and partially close other roads and reroute traffic.

Anticipating the traffic adjustments by the Cebu City Government, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, also on Thursday, said she would not temporarily close the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT) this Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 20 and 21, for the Solemn Foot Procession and the Sinulog Festival, respectively.

Garcia called upon the Cebu Police Provincial Office to make sure that the CSBT will remain open during those days, as she registered her objection to the route of this year’s Solemn Foot Procession.

In a press conference on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024, Cebu City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera said one lane of the CSCR will be closed from SM Seaside to El Pardo road near Il Corso on Sunday, Sinulog day, but the northbound lane will be open for two-way traffic.

Pesquera said they will implement a no stopping policy for all public utility vehicles (PUVs), including buses.

She added that they are in talks with the management of SM Seaside City Cebu to allow PUVs to drop passengers off in its vicinity.

“It would be very difficult if this was to be done on the street because even if it would take just seconds, the seconds would accumulate and still block traffic,” she said.

She said they will announce the final traffic scheme on Friday, Jan. 19 that would include making spectators who will bring their vehicles aware of where to go, park and drop off their passengers.

Last year, several spectators and commuters had difficulty accessing public transport in and out of the Sinulog venue.

Don’t bring vehicles

Spectators who want to witness the Sinulog parade and ritual showdown were urged not to bring their personal vehicles to the venue at the SRP on Sunday.

Raquel Arce, head of the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO), said this to prevent heavy traffic in the area, adding that there will be modern public utility jeepneys (MPUJ) available to the public.

“We discourage people from bringing their own vehicles,” she told SunStar Cebu on Wednesday.

Arce said while there will be available free parking areas allotted for private vehicles, these will be on a “first come, first served” basis. The main parking area will be at SM Seaside City Cebu.

She also said they will implement partial road closures and revised flows on adjacent roads at the SRP on Sunday.

Modern jeepneys

Kent Francesco Jongoy, CCTO legal officer, said they will deploy MPUJs in strategic locations to meet the needs of spectators. He said some transport operators, including those from Cebu Province, had confirmed their participation.

Additionally, he said, there is a collaboration with the management of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) for discounted access for the units.

He said MPUJs will cover five routes: three in Cebu City (north, south and central), one in southern Cebu Province, and one in Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu City and Cordova. The following are the routes:

•Lapu-Lapu City to Cordova town via SRP Consortium and CCLEX;

•Parkmall in Mandaue City to SRP Consortium via Viaduct;

•Barangay Talamban to IT Park to SRP Bagsakan and Seaside via F. Vestil St.;

•Bulacao to SRP Bagsakan and Seaside via F. Vestil St.;

•Carcar City to SRP Terminal via Coastal Road Talisay.

According to LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr., as of Thursday morning, 160 units were set to operate on Sinulog day. He said regular fares apply.

Partial closure

Arce said from 12 a.m. on Sunday until midnight, some roads will experience partial closures and altered traffic flows to facilitate the holding of the Sinulog celebration.

She said F. Vestil St. will operate exclusively as a one-way street directing traffic southbound toward the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR). Additionally, a segment of the CSCR, from the F. Vestil St. intersection to the El Pardo Road intersection, will be temporarily closed. This closure includes all southbound lanes, as they are designated for the parade route.

L. Gabuya St. will be used as a one-way traffic route for northbound vehicles, covering the stretch from F. Vestil St. intersection to the Col. Cabreros Street junction.

Similarly, a portion of C. Padilla St. will operate as a one-way traffic route heading northbound, extending from the F. Vestil St. intersection to the R. Padilla St. junction.

For individuals seeking access to the SRP, alternative routes have been outlined. These include routes from N. Bacalso Ave. to Talisay City via F. Vestil St. and from Plaza Independencia on M.J. Cuenco Ave. to Talisay City via CSCR, taking into account the temporary two-way traffic on F. Vestil St.

South bus terminal

As for the Cebu South Bus Terminal on N. Bacalso Ave., Governor Garcia was adamant that she would not allow its closure this weekend.

Garcia made the pronouncement during the traffic meeting she called on Thursday to prevent gridlock on the road leading to the southern parts of Cebu. The meeting was streamed lived on Sugbo News, the official media arm of the Cebu Provincial Government.

The governor had received a report that CCTO head Arce was planning to announce the suspension of CSBT operations this weekend.

She said the CSBT remains a property of the Cebu Provincial Government and closing the bus terminal will be detrimental to the riding public and her constituents who will be going to southern Cebu.

“Kung ipa no entry na, ako mismo ang mopa-abli ana. I hope that I do not need to do that,” Garcia said.

(If they will implement no entry at the terminal, I myself will have that opened.)

Objection to route

Garcia objected to the route of this Saturday’s Solemn Foot Procession, saying it will impede the movement of the riding public going again to southern Cebu.

For the 459th Fiesta Señor, the procession route of the image of Sto. Niño de Cebu will start at the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño de Cebu and go through D. Jakosalem St., Magallanes St., A. Borromeo St., Leon Kilat St., N. Bacalso Ave., V. Rama Ave., B. Rodriguez St., Osmeña Blvd. and back to the Basilica.

Garcia argued that this was not the old route of the foot procession, and it will also affect the entry and exit of emergency vehicles and ambulances along B. Rodriguez St. in the vicinity of which there are several hospitals such as the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center.

“Why will they pass here when this is not the traditional procession route?” Garcia said in Cebuano.

Last year, the route issued by the Augustinian friars of the Basilica for the Jan. 14, 2023 Solemn Foot Procession, started at the Basilica and moved through Osmeña Blvd., Gen. Maxilom Ave., Imus Ave., M.J. Cuenco Ave., Osmeña Blvd., and back to the Basilica.

However, a similar foot procession route was used during the 455th Fiesta Señor on Jan. 18, 2020, traversing V. Rama Ave., and B. Rodriguez St., Fuente Osmeña Circle, F. Ramos St., Junquera St., Mabini St., then back to the Basilica.

Governor’s traffic plan

The governor bared a traffic scheme to prevent gridlock on the road leading to the southern part of Cebu. This includes asking the Land Transportation Office and the LTFRB to prohibit parking on the Cebu City side of N. Bacalso Ave.

The Capitol was already expecting traffic congestion in this road section as the Cebu South Coastal Road will be closed for most of Sunday for the Sinulog Grand Parade at the SRP, leaving N. Bacalso Ave. as the only way for commuters to get to northern and southern Cebu.

Garcia will likely also implement the suggestion of Vallacar Transit, which owns the Ceres Bus Liners, to temporarily stage some of the operations of the CSBT in their properties in Kinasang-an Pardo, Cebu City on Sunday to avoid congestion near the CSBT.

City of Talisay-Traffic Operations and Development Authority head Joy Tumulak will deploy 150 enforcers to manage traffic. Their deployment will go beyond the boundaries of Cebu City along Barangay Bulacao and Barangay Inayawan as most of the CCTO enforcers will be focused on the SRP.

There will be strictly no parking along the CSCR to V.H. Garces St. (cornering Laray Church).

Talisay City will also deploy modern buses to ferry passengers to and from the SRP venue to Petron Laray, Poblacion, City Hall, Wilcon Depot, Linao. / AML, KJF, EHP


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