Baguio to Employ 4Es to Fix Worsening Traffic
As Baguio seeks to find ways to solve traffic congestion in the city, it is looking to incorporate the 4Es of proper traffic management—engineering, enforcement, education and enactment–in its efforts.
“Kailangan walang mawawala sa apat,” said Ted Tan, a volunteer of the Traffic Transport Management Committee (TTMC) of Baguio for more than a decade. “It will take time, especially with our current situation when the problem has ballooned but we cannot forever set it aside, we can still solve the problem, not necessarily tomorrow but we can.”
The city’s traffic congestion problem, which gets worse during weekends and tourist seasons, has been a blight to the image of relaxation and fun that the country’s summer capital often promotes.
Tan noted that he brought up the urgent need for a fully-functioning city traffic office years ago, but his request fell on deaf ears.
“When the TPLEX (Tarlac-Pangasinan, La Union Expressway) was starting, I already wrote a column in a Baguio newspaper about its effect. I projected more people coming to the city for weekend or weekday getaways but nobody listened. Had we prepared years ago, we would have not been surprised,” Tan said.
The TPLEX has shortened the Manila-to-Baguio travel time from an average of 8 hours to just 3.5 hours.
According to Tan, road widening is not an option to ease the traffic situation in the city, because most of them are on the mountainside. However, there are other means worth looking into, Tan said.
“More than 10 years ago, there was a strong calling to address Baguio traffic-Session rotunda, central business district, city hall loop, Marcos highway and Bokawkan. I was approached by [former city planning officer] Mr. Art Orig to help design a solution to the gridlock especially afternoon traffic at the post office rotunda. That is the existing one way now,” Tan said.
A rotunda can keep the traffic moving, he suggested.
“Enactment of traffic laws and enforcement are the only ones often implemented absent engineering and enforcement which limits the implementation. People, everybody, should learn how to be cooperative and not just think of their convenience–parking in a no-parking zone nearer his destination, not minding that such act will lead to clogging of the road and inconveniences more people,” Tan shared.
Additional parking areas will also help decongest the roads, Tan said.
“If there are 1,000 vehicles who go to the area and parking is only for 100 vehicles that will mean the 900 will be parked on the roadside, blocking the road. We need to create more parking within or somewhere else before they enter Baguio,” he said.
Tan also suggested placing an age limit on public utility vehicles (PUVs), which can also help reduce air pollution.