Zubiri wants elevated walkways, bike lanes along EDSA

MANILA, Philippines – "We need to create walkable, bike-able cities," said Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri on Tuesday, August 20, as he underscored the need for elevated walkways and bike lanes along the heavily congested EDSA.

"An elevated walkway and bike lane along EDSA would open up a new people-centric avenue to connect Metro Manila’s major business districts," Zubiri said in a privilege speech.

Elevated walkways and bikes lanes are among the easy interventions that the government can do to improve mobility along EDSA, some experts say.

A quick look at EDSA sidewalks would show how "unfriendly" they are to pedestrians and PWDs – narrow and crowded with street vendors, parked vehicles, electrical posts, and occasional plant boxes.

"These sidewalks are near-unnavigable and make it difficult for a pedestrian to walk home from, say, a call center shift in Ortigas to her rented apartment along Boni; or for a TNVS food delivery rider stuck whereabouts in Cubao to bike home to Quezon Avenue," the senator said.

Zubiri cited Makati City's elevated walkways that connect some areas in the central business district as an example. (READ: Manila Moves: Cycling through the metro's traffic)

"We really must consider the alternative transport channel, as it will not only ease up vehicular traffic in our roads, but it will also be a pro-poor, pro-people project that will give citizens from all walks of life an avenue for safe and easy mobility," he said.

The senator said that elevated walkways are not "very difficult" to build anyway.

According to MMDA figures, the average number of vehicles that passed EDSA per day already exceeded 400,000 in 2018, over the daily capacity of only 288,000.

EDSA has been repeatedly dubbed a "parking lot" by commuters and motorists alike, as heavy traffic congestion marks rush hours every day, even worse when it's raining.

In 2015, sustainability advocates walked the 21.3-kilometer stretch of EDSA. Medical doctor Gideon Lasco in an IMHO piece said that the main thoroughfare has "no organized walking infrastructure" and that EDSA walkways have just been an afterthought. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.