THE Baguio City Council is currently studying the possibility of implementing an odd-even traffic scheme for private vehicles during weekends on a two-month experimental period.
The local legislative body referred to the Committee on Public Utilities, Traffic and Transport Legislation a proposed resolution authored by Councilor Faustino Olowan to adopt an experimental 2-month odd-even scheme during Saturdays and Sundays for private vehicles in the city.
The Committee was instructed to conduct consultations with the various transport groups, the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), barangay officials and other stakeholders to get their inputs prior to the finalization of the measure that is aimed at lessening traffic congestions around the city.
Olowan, in his resolution admits heavy traffic and the congested roads and streets, especially within the various tourist spots and the central business district during Saturdays and Sundays, is now one of the major problems the local government needs to address.
He added the influx of visitors to the city during weekends most of who bring their own vehicles, immensely contribute to the worsening traffic congestions considering the limited parking spaces and the minimum road capacity.
Based on the records of the Baguio City Police Office – Traffic Management Branch (BCPO-TMB) as of December 2015, private vehicles were estimated at 5,266 per day during weekdays with the implementation of the Baguio Number Coding Scheme. This is 22 percent lower of the total estimated 23,993 vehicles traversing the city roads any day.
Olowan claimed the scenario clearly indicates the need for the local government to institute additional measures to decongest the roads to ease the traffic during the weekends wherein the number coding scheme is not in effect even during major events in the city.
Under the proposal, private vehicles with license plate numbers ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 will be prohibited along major streets in the city on Saturdays while vehicles having license plates ending in 2, 4, 6, 8 and 0 will not be allowed on Sundays.
In addition to the schedule on Saturdays and Sundays, the odd-even scheme will be applied from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
At the same time, the resolution stated pertinent provisions of the Baguio Number Coding Scheme will be adopted, particularly the prohibition which will apply to all roads within the number coding zone of the city and the exemptions provided in the said ordinance.
The committee was also requested to look into the negative effects of the odd-even scheme on tourism, although the proponent asserted that there will be a mechanism that will be put in place to make sure that tourists will be exempted from the coverage of the proposed traffic scheme. (Dexter See/PIO)