As the perennial traffic problem on the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue shows no signs of improvement, suggestions float in hopes of easing vehicular congestion Filipinos experience every day.
The Metro Manila Development Authority recently warned that the metropolis’ main thoroughfare will have “hellish traffic” conditions in the coming “-ber” months or the last quarter of the year.
MMDA traffic chief Bong Nebrija shared the statement following a week of flash floods that soaked Metro Manila and caused extreme congestion of vehicles on the road.
“Isang linggo pa lang ang ulan at ang pasko malayo pa and yet we are already seeing the influx of additional cars on EDSA. Expect that when the ‘ber’ months arrive, the traffic will be very unusual,” he said in a forum on August 14.
The agency also admitted that it has run out of ideas to solve the traffic problem plaguing EDSA.
“Our hands are tied in implementing only those policies that are already existing. There’s no new policy at hand,” Nebrija said in a more recent interview.
“So as of now, wala talaga eh. We are trying to manage Edsa as it is right now,” he added.
MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago mentioned that they are open to any kind of proposal that would be pitched to the agency, provided it is “backed up by research and data.”
She added that the agency has been receiving different proposals since 2017 but claimed that they were “very vague” and “very common.”
Recently, however, two proposals have been gaining buzz among Filipinos—the one-way traffic scheme and the car brand coding.
The one-way traffic scheme
A group of engineers headed by Fernando Guevara of the GPI Engineers proposed for the entirety of EDSA to be used by southbound vehicles only.
Northbound vehicles will ply C5 instead, he added.
Guevara said that it would only work if a bus rapid system would be created along with the passage of the Commuter Welfare Act or Senate Bill 847 which would facilitate vehicular decongestion.
Under his proposal, bus stops would be placed “within 200 meters from any residence” and should have a “500-meter distance” between each stop.
Guevara said that the creation of bus routes would consequentially utilize side streets and other roads to transport commuters from southern to northern Manila without supposedly having to go around C5.
However, traffic engineer Rene Santiago called it a “formula for disaster” and reasoned that it would only transfer vehicular congestion to other highways, particularly C4 (Circumferential Road 4), C5 (Circumferential Road 5), R1 (Radial Road 1) and R10 (Radial Road 10).
“If you do a one-way system, you will overload all of these roads. For example, Aurora Boulevard, Ortigas Avenue, Kalayaan Avenue. At this point, even without the traffic, the volume of vehicles from C5 and C4 are already saturated,” Santiago said.
“So if you overlay these traffic volumes on those saturated, very few cross streets that serve as the radial road, you will create a monstrous traffic jam,” he added.
The car brand coding
Another proposal aimed to implement a coding scheme based on car brands, otherwise known as the “Vehicular Brand Reduction Program.”
Proposed by former Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation consultant Ariston Gorospe, the idea aims to reduce the number of vehicles on EDSA based on its brand model in addition to the license plate-based coding.
The proposed coding days are the following:
- Monday: Toyota
- Tuesday: Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Isuzu
- Wednesday: Nissan, Ford, Foton
- Thursday: Honda, Chevrolet, Mazda, Subaru
- Friday: Suzuki, Kia, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz
- Saturday: Jac, Tata, Audi, Baic
- Sunday: Mini and Lotus, Volvo, Ssangyong and others
Gorospe added that the coding day for each car model would be changed “every six months” for supposed monitoring.
He based his idea on the list of vehicles that were sold to Filipinos in 2018, according to the records of the Land Transportation Office.
For MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago, however, the proposal was one of the more “extreme” ones but said that the agency will look into it.