By Karl Aries Emerson F. Cabilao, UAP
THE moment the announcement from the Department of Public Works came, it seemed to send anxiety among drivers and commuters, especially those who pass by the bridges going to and from the city of Mandaue and the island of Mactan. The long overdue repair of the first Mandaue-Mactan bridge gave travelers goosebumps with the news of the partial closure of lanes on the bridge that is expected to slow down traffic terribly.
True enough, the scenario that people were very wary about came into reality with traffic on the bridge nearly at a standstill. Many got stuck on the road and bridge for hours resulting into tardiness in school and work. Not even the presence of the other bridge, the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, help eased traffic between Mandaue and Mactan as it also suffered turtle-paced traffic, if not momentary absence of vehicular movement. The barrage of social media posts about the traffic situation just hours after the implementation of the lane closures in the first bridge was overwhelming.
The construction of a third bridge connecting Mandaue and Mactan is envisioned to lighten up traffic in the two bridges but it has not yet started. Thus, other solutions to somehow take small bits of stress off drivers and commuters have to be made.
Just like a mathematics problem, how about solving it with numbers? Last month, the Lapu Lapu City Traffic Management System proposed a number coding system for vehicles passing through the two bridges. The concept is clearly inspired by the one used in Manila where heavy traffic is also a problem on its main thoroughfares. In this scheme, vehicles bearing the last two digits specified in the system would be barred from entering Lapu Lapu City. This aimed at limiting the number of vehicles using the bridges. However, the number coding would only apply to private vehicles since the traffic body noted that they compose majority of the traffic volume using the bridges.
So, what do some Weekend readers think about this proposal?
“Long term use of number coding will create more problems. In a way, those who can afford to buy more cars will add more so they can get away with the coding scheme. More cars means streets will turn out to be private parking spaces thus adding to traffic congestion and our air quality will suffer too. What we really need are long-term solutions like efficient public mass transport, and to build more well-planned wide roads and bridges targeted in areas where traffic is worse. I also believe that expediting the MyBus franchise and creating more convenient bus stops for this would also help private car owners and other commuters to take the bus.” — Gail Cruse-Banzon, entrepreneur
“I think a number coding scheme would somewhat help, especially if properly and strictly implemented. It can be part of the solution for sure, but what could really also help, I think, is if people would consider carpooling so there would be fewer cars on the road. I used to carpool with my officemates when I worked in Mactan — it was fun and a good bonding experience!” — Kyra Cabaero, country marketing communications manager
“I’d say it’s worth a try, but truth of the matter is for the entire Metro Cebu including the major cities and towns, we need proper mass transit solution. We need an efficient system that can get people to where they are going, while taking cars off the road. There isn’t enough space for road widening and/or flyovers to be effective when choke points exist throughout those thoroughfares. I think they need to be prioritizing long-term solutions over short-term ones. I’m sorry for digressing, but I think a long-term solution will be the real answer for all current and future road problems.” — Paul John Kiener, manager/photographer
“The main causes of traffic problem are the motorists who don’t follow the traffic rules. Number coding will surely lessen the numbers of vehicles but heavy traffic will still be there because of stubborn drivers. Some families rely only on one car for their daily transportation that’s why I don’t consider coding as a solution. It’s better to enforce traffic rules strongly and make road repairs faster. These bridge and road repairs should be for long-term and must not require another round of “repairs” after a year or two. I think the PUJs and tricycles are also heavy contributors to traffic.” — Tenten Yu, businessman