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Traffic problem and solutions

01:35 AM August 29, 2016

IN “WHY didn’t MMDA act on ‘çhoke points’ before?” (Opinion, 7/19/16), Stephen Monsanto asked: “What’s so difficult about getting MMDA traffic enforcers to do nothing but man those choke points during peak or rush hours (if not 24/7) and holding them accountable if the CCTVs show them not doing their job?” I made the same suggestion years ago on social media.

Funny how Monsanto mentioned the exact spot where I experienced one of the worst rainless traffic jams ever: the Edsa-Kamuning intersection in Quezon City. I was going to cross Edsa coming from Kamuning Road. Two long lines of vehicles were hardly moving on Kamuning. When I finally reached the Edsa-Kamuning corner, after what seemed like an eternity, I was so frustrated to see that the only reason for the snail-paced traffic flow was that vehicles on Edsa continued to move forward even though the traffic light had turned red; thus, the vehicles coming from Kamuning had no chance to move forward. Yet all that was needed to put the motorists in their place was one traffic enforcer!

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It’s not hard to imagine many more intersections around the metropolis are in the same situation.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority should release to the public a list of all its traffic enforcers, specifying the “choke point” to which each of them are assigned. This should tell the public who is to be held accountable when a certain intersection is left unmanned. I really can’t understand this now-you-see-them-now-you-don’t magic act.

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All other government employees are strictly required to be at their workplace from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or at specified hours. Why are traffic enforcers tolerated when they are not in their posts at the required time? Why do we get the feeling that they are only around when they feel like it? Can the MMDA at least give the public a hotline to call whenever there are traffic jams that need disentangling by traffic enforcers?

I recently passed by UP Village coming from SSS, going to Katipunan. The volume of traffic was really huge. But there were traffic enforcers at every intersection, and traffic was flowing smoothly and in a very orderly fashion, and I was able to reach Katipunan in a matter of minutes. That’s the point: Even if the number of vehicles has multiplied by the thousands, if there are traffic enforcers making sure that everyone follows all traffic rules, traffic would always be bearable.

Should the President choose to appoint a new MMDA head, let him be someone who is fond of driving around—like the President himself; someone  hands-on, with the energy to personally check traffic situations and not spend most of his working hours in the air-conditioned comfort of his office. Let’s see if this doesn’t make the traffic enforcers show how hardworking they are.

It would also be most important to review all road projects that are behind schedule. Everybody knows that unfinished road work is also one of the perennial causes of monstrous traffic jams.

Discussion of remedies to the traffic problem would not be complete without mentioning the flood-prone areas, as flooding always causes more traffic jams. However, solutions to flooding can be as immediate as the cleaning of esteros and canals; or as long-term as building better drainage systems. A thorough study of all the flood-prone areas and how to minimize, or better, prevent the flooding, is in order.

But I’m sure this has been done or is already being done. Still the question is: Why do roads still get flooded so easily?

—MARIA ESTRELLITA R. REYES, [email protected]

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TAGS: letter, Letter to the Editor, MMDA, opinion, traffic, transport, Transportation
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