By Karl Aries Emerson F. Cabilao, UAP
SOMETIMES our poorly constructed and sometimes non-existent sidewalks contribute to the road traffic mess in our cities. Without sidewalks, people encroach on the roadways that are supposed to be exclusive to vehicular flow. Sometimes, whatever little available area for sidewalks are used by vendors and other establishments as extensions of their commercial (and more often, parking space). Most of the existing sidewalks in the city are not even friendly to people with special needs like the disabled and the elderly. Many are devoid of ramps, and obstructions like utility posts often cause a hassle when walking along them (and yes, how much more for those who are wheel-chair bound).
Sidewalks grabbed the headlines several weeks ago when people complained about them as being too high for comfort. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which was tasked to construct the sidewalks, said it was elevated to prevent sidewalk parking. But some residents of some barangays in cebu City complained that the height causes some inconvenience especially when disembarking from public utility vehicles.
As the repair of roadways and sidewalks continue, this is an opportune time to ask readers on what an ideal sidewalk should be. Let’s read some of their ideas:
“An ideal side walk is where you dont mind too much on your walking but more on what surrounds you. Why? Because in other countries, like those in the ‘first world,’ you don’t notice the kilometers or miles you put in just by walking because their sidewalks are just so functional and convenient. The next thing you know you’re already at your destination.” — Josemaria Seno, corporate functions officer
“Sidewalks are an integral part of the transportation system and as a public space, it should be accessible to a wide spectrum of users. An ideal sidewalk should be appropriately sized, continuous, well lit, clear of obstructions and free of cracks. Since pedestrian comfort is just as important as safety, it is also important to make sure the sidewalks are well maintained, with beautiful landscaping to facilitate an inviting pedestrian environment encouraging more people to walk. These different components will greatly contribute to the development of active and healthier communities.” — Phoebe Roxanne Ouano, entrepreneur
“An ideal sidewalk is a path that people can actually walk on safely without fear of being run over by a motorcycle or speeding car. It’s wide, paved, clean, shaded with trees and free from garbage, stray animals, the homeless and sellers, plus has designated areas for jeepney/bus stops or taxi stands.” — Carla Marie Adlawan, copywriter/teacher
“These would be something similar to IT Park’s where these are wide with planting strips. Paver blocks should be used for non-slip and permeable quality, and these are not glaring in terms of reflected sunlight. Separate bike lanes should be provided, too.” — Clive Aaron Guanzon, architect