A ‘whole of government’ approach to solve the daily monster EDSA traffic is missing with the Department of Transportation and Communications deciding to pour its resources on Commonwealth Avenue as the construction of Manila Metro Rail Transit System Line 7 (MRT-7) began last week, instead of trying its best to address the EDSA traffic, officials told People’s Tonight yesterday.
“We don’t know the DOTr priority right now. Instead of addressing the daily traffic situation in the 23.8-kilometer long EDSA as ordered by President Duterte, it decided to pour its resources in addressing the heavy traffic on Commonwealth Avenue triggered by the construction of MRT Line 7,” an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.
The official expressed belief that motorists will surely understand the traffic situation on Commonwealth Avenue since the construction of MRT Line 7 has already started.
“There will always be a traffic jam once major road infrastructure works start but we can’t explain that to motorists using EDSA since there is no major construction work in the middle of the major thoroughfare,” the official said.
Another official, who also demanded anonymity so he won’t get the ire of the DOTr leadership, said that instead of pushing for measures and other programs that will support the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic Enforcement’(I-ACT e) in its resolve to address the EDSA traffic problem, DOTr authorities have concentrated their resources on Commonwealth Avenue for still unknown reasons.
Supposed to be, the I-ACT e composed of personnel from the DOTr, the Land Transportation Office, the Metro Manila Development Authority, the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and local government units will enforce harmonized traffic laws, circulars and ordinances thru a Single Enforcement System.
The I-ACT e is supposed to be staffed by highly-trained, professional, unified and integrated traffic enforcers under an Interconnected Traffic Management System in all roadways of Mega Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao.
However, there have been complaints that it has failed to do its job and fast. On Tuesday, huge traffic jams greeted a flooded Metro Manila with many MMDA traffic enforcers missing in their respective posts. There are still no PNP-HPG traffic personnel assigned in EDSA at present since the PNP-HPG leadership early this year pulled out its men in EDSA due to the failure of the DOTr and the MMDA to fully support their personnel.
At present, the DOTr has requested the service of some 80 HPG motorcycle riders to help them address the problem on Commonwealth Avenue. Fielding such a huge number of officers pose a major problem to the PNP leadership since these officers and men have to be fed, clothed, sheltered and given other basic needs.
Officials earlier said that they consider an enhanced P2P bus lane for EDSA which will adopt the current P2P Premium Bus Service currently in service between Trinoma, QC and Ayala Avenue in Makati.
The I-Act 3 has come up with an immediate plan and a long-term plan. The immediate plan focuses on the whole stretch of EDSA, its arterial roads and the so-called Mabuhay Lanes which are the showcase of the country’s state of transportation system while the long-term plan calls for the full implementation of the i-ACT Plan to integrate the transport intervention system of Metro Manila, the system of Metro Cebu and that of Metro Davao.
The long-term plan is the integration of 16 cities and one municipality of Metro Manila, Metro Cebu composed of Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue cities and Metro Davao. The inter-agency unit particularly wants to address the traffic in Balintawak to Kaingin area, Muñoz area, Trinoma to Quezon Avenue area, Timog to Kamuning area, Cubao to P. Tuazon area, Santolan area, Ortigas area, Shaw Boulevard to Pioneer area, Guadalupe to Ayala area and Magallanes to Pasay area.