Envi group points out factors pedestrians avoid walking

Envi group points out factors pedestrians avoid walking
SunStar File Photo

A DAVAO City-based environment group, Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (Idis), has identified 620 barriers impeding pedestrian movement in the city.

Environmental Research Officer Justin Joshua Pungyan of Idis reported on Monday morning, July 8, 2024, during the Kapehan sa Dabaw held at SM City Davao, that only 7.4 percent of respondents are satisfied with the 27 assessed walkways in Davao City.

Its recently concluded research study on urban walkability and mobility revealed that 620 identified barriers include obstructive objects, parked vehicles, sidewalk gaps, stalls, and unclear pedestrian signs. These barriers are further categorized by their tenure: 352 are permanent barriers requiring demolition, while approximately 268 are temporary barriers that are easier to remove.

Pungyan added that Dabawenyos feel unsafe crossing the road because of the following reasons: they perceive that parking areas are not regulated; there are no amenities for pedestrians; transit access such as loading and unloading stations are accessible but unsystematic and not regulated, and the city streets are not child-friendly.

Lemuel Manalo, program coordinator at IDIS, emphasized that based on the research findings, one of the reasons why Dabawenyos avoid walking is due to environmental factors, particularly the heat.

“One of our recommendations is really to provide urban greenery, as well as the canopy infrastructure, katong mga shed mismo [the actual sheds]. In Davao City, we just pinpoint or count in our fingers kung pila lang ang naay [on how many have] canopy walks or shed walks ang makita nato diri [we can see here], wala pa kaayo tay daghan na mga covered na [we do not have a lot of covered] walkways as of now,” he said. 

Manalo also recommended enhancing and properly enforcing the newly amended Comprehensive Transport and Traffic Code of Davao City. He emphasized that a significant percentage of barriers in the city are caused by illegally parked vehicles of all types, which obstruct pedestrian walkways.

Moreover, Manalo also shared that one of the key policies or ordinances that they will be pushing after the study is the “Car-Free Day” ordinance.

“Regular Car-Free Sundays is to encourage recreational activities, health, as well as mobility in the city. We need to make a day for us to be independent from cars, and vehicles for just a day of purely recreational, purely mobility,”  he said. 

The regular car-free day involves the temporary closure of certain roads to provide space for recreational activities such as jogging, cycling, and pet walking, typically on Sundays or Saturdays. Manalo said that they hope to encourage each barangay to establish their own car-free avenues.

Various cities have been implementing car-free days, either through partnerships, like Makati’s Ayala Avenue managed by Ayala Land, or solely by local government units, such as in Antipolo City.

The closure of Roxas Avenue for the Roxas Night Market is a similar initiative, although it is not solely intended for recreational purposes.

The car-free day ordinance was drafted before the pandemic and underwent readings. However, it did not proceed due to the necessity of integrating and harmonizing it with the Davao City High Priority Bus System. Charles Lj Sido, Silliman University Intern


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