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Pedestrianized Fatima Avenue Officially Opens to the Public

Fatima Avenue Valenzuela City

As part of the aim to reclaim public spaces for the residents in a heavily industrialized and concretized urbanized city like Valenzuela, the local government pedestrianizes one of its strategic roads, the Fatima Avenue, July 24, 2022.

The new Fatima Avenue is now closed to vehicular traffic, allowing only bikes and smaller e-bikes to traverse its 250-meter length and 2,803.30 square meters area. It was converted into a communal public open space for families and friends where they can dine in together at the picnic tables, or simply just enjoy some bonding moments at the chairs and lounging sheds scattered around. There are also jogging paths for the health enthusiasts.

It boasts of the restored image of Our Lady of Fatima that formerly stood by the arc located at the entryway of the road along MacArthur Highway. The image is now the overseer of the road-park and strategically installed at the middle of the avenue in a fitting pedestal. The former arc was also dismantled and was replaced with more aesthetically pleasing architecture and materials. It dons a design inspired by the crown-like façade of the church reminiscent of the old arc.

Fatima Avenue Valenzuela City

Fatima Avenue was chosen for the project because of two factors: first, two of Valenzuela City’s landmarks sits along it – the Museo Valenzuela which currently houses the memorabilia and diorama of Dr. Pio Valenzuela, and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima where the National Pilgrim Image of the Lady is enshrined. Our Lady of Fatima also happens to be declared as “Valenzuela City’s Patroness”. Secondly, the avenue already has some old trees that needed to be saved. The local government only needed to add some more trees, shrubs and ornamental vegetation.

Normally, on a Sunday, after going to the Mass, families would usually bond some more. “Now they won’t have to go far,” said Valenzuela City Cultural and Tourism Development Office (CATDO) Head and historian, Mr. Jonathan Balsamo. “As soon as they come out of the church, blessed by God through the intercession of Our Lady of Fatima, they can choose to just idle away some more, sit on the bench and talk with each other, or dine at choice establishment.”

Fatima Avenue Valenzuela City

The avenue is not just for Sunday church goers, the place is now booming with several homegrown dining establishments at what formerly were residential front yards. Local entrepreneurial spirit was stimulated in anticipation of the opening of the new mini-park. It is also being boost by a food bazaar dubbed as “Food Fiesta” which is a joint project of the CATDO and the Local Economic Development and Investment Promotion Office (LEDIPO) headed by Ms. Ophie Osea. It helps other local food businesses in Valenzuela to establish their presence in the park. The Food Fiesta is a great help to increase their income. One pizza stand reported to have sold out a hundred boxes of pizza on a peak night.

The project is part of Valenzuela City’s aspiration to become more liveable. During the formal opening held last June 24, then Mayor and now 1st District Representative Cong. REX Gatchalian, reiterated that initiatives like this ushers the City of Valenzuela to liveable stature.

“Sa mga proyektong tulad po ng Fatima Avenue, dito natin ipinapakita na kung dati ang Valenzuela ay kilala bilang industrial city, ngayon po ay unti-unti nang nakikilala bilang livable city”, he said I his speech. [In projects like Fatima Avenue, here we can show that if Valenzuela City is used to be known as an Industrial City, now it is gradually being known as a livable city.]

Fatima Avenue Valenzuela City

According to Livable Cities Philippines, making a livable city won’t be a piece of cake as it requires solutions that should have continuous effect to the society. For a complete fulfillment of a “livable city”, it should provide equitable access to the necessities of life, including housing, mobility, food, services, education, and meaningful work as well as giving all the residents an opportunity to participate in the civic, economic, and cultural life of the city.

Pedestrianizing the Fatima Avenue is also cotangent with the continuous efforts of the different national agencies on bringing back the public roads to the people and not merely to the vehicles.

A mini-concert proceeds after the official opening to the delight of the crowd. Some of the performers for the show were local artists such as Amstel Satore, Klaudeth Silos and one of the rising local bands in the country today, the NOBITA, whose vocalist is a Valenzuelano. They serenaded the crowd with their hit song “Ikaw lang” as the people sung it back with them.

The Food Fiesta will continue serving good food up until July 30, 2022, from Wednesday to Sunday, starting at 5:00 pm and closes at 10:00 pm.

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