Improving traffic in Metro Manila.
There has been a slight but distinct improvement in the traffic along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) in recent days, possibly due to the campaign to get "colorum" buses off the road. There is also the government decision to phase out the old jeepneys and replace them with newer ones with more economical engines.
Then there is the welcome improvement in the operations of the Metro Rail Transit, which is now running up to 15 to 17 trains a day after it went down to as few as eight. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) traffic enforcers of MMDA Chairman Danny Lim seem infused with new energy and determination to enforce traffic rules after clearing up side roads that used to be blocked by illegal constructions and illegal parking.
So many actions and decisions must have contributed to the easing of traffic in Metro Manila and now we face prospects of even more improvements with public works projects - both old ones left unworked on for months and years and new ones begun by the new administration.
Secretary Mark Villar of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), in a press briefing last Monday, said the North Luzon-South Luzon Expressways Connection Road and the Skyway Stage 3 projects will be completed by 2020. The Laguna Lake Highway and the Harbor Link Segment 10 will be completed this year.
Work under "Build, Build, Build" will begin this year on new 12 bridges across the Pasig River, on C-6, and on bypass roads for EDSA. "There are many other projects in the coming years, and every year, there will be an improvement, especially in 2020," the secretary said.
All regional directors of the DPWH have been instructed to identify the most congested roads in the country and hold brainstorming sessions to seek solutions to the problems, he said. While the congestion problem in each area may have its own distinctive cause, the DPWH is likely to have something to contribute to its solution.
Meanwhile, there is this other initiative in Metro Manila to make use of the wide Pasig River as a major transport route from Laguna de Bay to Manila Bay. This project, which has been assigned to ten agencies coordinated by Secretary Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management will have a system of 24 air-conditioned ferryboats and 29 stations along the route.
The EDSA traffic problem has been with us for years and it is good to know that so many agencies and officials are at work on it. It is one problem that so intimately affects the millions of people who live and work in Metro Manila. They do not need to be told when it is finally solved. They will know.