Urban planner speaks out on worsening Metro traffic | Inquirer Business

Urban planner speaks out on worsening Metro traffic

/ 12:35 AM September 12, 2015

The lasting solution to the worsening traffic and general urban congestion plaguing Metro Manila may just be found outside the streets.

Urban planner Felino Palafox Jr. said: “There is hope if we address traffic comprehensively, through urban planning, transport/land-use planning, traffic engineering, education and enforcement. We also need a visionary leadership with a strong political will, good planning, good design and good governance.”

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But of course, as things stand now, these ideals are easier said than done. And Palafox does concede that meaningful changes will not happen overnight. According to him, immediate action must be undertaken in the next 100 days, followed by short-term goals to be met in 2016, which should lead to medium-term goals from 2021 to 2025, and ultimately, for the long term from 2025 to 2050.

If only the problem had been met head-on much earlier, the urban situation now would have been much different, rued Palafox.

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Recommendations

He said: “Many of the solutions had been put forward since the 1970s. The World Bank-funded MMetroPlan 1975-77 where I was team leader submitted over 300 recommendations to address land-use transport traffic development. We proposed eight LRT lines to be completed in 15 years. In 1984, Metro Manila had one of the most modern LRTs in the world. We proposed congestion charges on congested areas at peak hours of the day (a year behind Singapore), dedicated bus lanes, flood control and drainage systems to address transport traffic development concerns and issues.”

He added that from the 1900s to the 1970s, “Metro Manila was a model for planning and infrastructure.”

In his Manila Megalopolis 2020 paper written in 2003 which he presented at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Palafox said that presentation included planning “urban growth centers as counter magnets to the fastest-growing metropolis in the world (Metro Manila was growing at 60 persons per hour, according to a 2000 Harvard Study).”

Proposal

He related that “in 1945, the US Corps of Engineers proposed 10 radial roads and 6 circumferential roads. Today, C-6 is not yet fully realized.

“In my Manila Megalopolis, I’m recommending 10 circumferential roads and railways. I’m also recommending linking the whole Philippine islands with railways and bridges, toward 2050. Mind you, the Philippines as a nation will observe its 500th year on March 16, 2021. It’s a good development milestone target to modernize our infrastructure well into the 21st century,” said Palafox.

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TAGS: bus lanes, drainage systems, felino palafox jr., flood control, good governance, Harvard Graduate School of Design, land-use transport traffic development, leadership, LRT, Manila Megalopolis 2020, Metro Manila, MMetroPlan 1975-77, political will, solution, traffic, traffic engineering, urban congestion, Urban Planning, US Corps of Engineers, World Bank
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