ADB to lend PH $100M to build elevated walkways, bike lanes along Edsa
NADI, Fiji — Elevated pathways that will serve not only pedestrians but also bikers would soon be built along Edsa once the Philippine government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) firms up within the year a $100-million (over P5-billion) loan for the proposed “greenways” project.
Ramesh Subramaniam, director general of the ADB’s Southeast Asia department, told a press conference on the sidelines of the Manila-based lender’s 52nd Annual Meeting that the plan was to build six to seven greenways, initially on North Edsa, Ortigas, and Taft intersections of Metro Manila’s main highway.
Subramaniam later told Filipino reporters covering the meeting that ADB would also provide technical assistance to a similar project at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City.
F. Cleo Kawawaki, deputy director general of the ADB’s Southeast Asia department, said the greenways project will have both a walkway to be used by pedestrians and a lane for bikers.
“They will be on the same track—all elevated bikeways as well as pedestrian [walkways]. That’s the configuration they are looking at right now,” Kawawaki said.
“If you’re in Ortigas, it will allow you to go off from the MRT to go to Megamall without going on the ground. Everything is elevated so you’ll just be walking to the [MRT-3] stations onto the malls, to the offices,” Kawawaki explained.
“And then what we’re trying to do is to see if there are ways where we can have the bicycle [lane] also on the elevated [path] so that the roads are reserved for the cars. So less accidents, less traffic,” she added.
“Other cities like Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong have them. So the idea is to promote pedestrian-friendly structures so their reliance on public transport will go down as the Philippines finds other solutions,” Subramaniam said.
“We are very optimistic about it. We’re going to start small, but there’s a good plan, a good feasibility study that has been done and the DOTr [Department of Transportation] as well as the DPWH [Department of Public Works and Highways] are very keen, they’re very committed,” he said, adding that ADB was also already in discussions with local government units (LGUs) where this project will be built.
Subramaniam said that once the project secures approval of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Board chaired by the President, ADB and the Philippine government can sign the loan agreement this year.
“We are definitely starting within the year but [since] what we’ve done is different, we are doing a lot more detailed [technical] design. We are working with the government and very high-quality consultants who are doing the design,” he said.
According to Subramaniam, building these greenways were “supposed to be fast.”
“In fact, the government’s desire would be one done within this calendar year, but I think probably we are looking at 2020, at least one greenway completed. So that we can also learn from it because it’s the first time it’s being done,” he added.
ADB was looking at lending the Philippines up to $3.3 billion this year.
ADB president Takehiko Nakao noted during a press conference last week that the lender used to lend to the country about $1 billion per year, but it will be jacked up to an average of about $2.5 billion yearly.
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