AUTHORITIES do not seem to notice that the relatively new extension to Zobel-Roxas Street—which is supposed to take motorists directly to Santa Ana faster— has become only half (literally!) passable.
Vehicles can use only one side of the street, beside Puregold Supermarket on JP Rizal in Makati City that connects to Santa Ana, unimpeded in the daytime.
The side going to Osmeña highway has become the recreation area/sports arena of informal settlers. In the daytime, motorists can use only a narrow strip on that side. But last week, even that narrow strip was closed, a tricycle blocking the entrance, as residents held, I assume, a major basketball tournament.
In the evening, taxi drivers tell me, they avoid that side completely and use the other side with extreme caution, as people hold drinking sessions in the middle of the road.
I do not know if that part of the road belongs to Manila or Makati—JP Rizal in Makati is connected to Tejeron in Manila —but this situation means a major waste of public funds on infrastructure that should otherwise serve motorists, but has now become the playground of people who do not even pay taxes.
Public transport for good health
Steve Williams says new international research confirms that public transport, as well as cycling and walking, will make cities less polluted and people healthier.
In an article for care2.com, Williams says studies conducted by the University of California and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), The Global High Shift Scenario, suggests that the easiest way to cut traffic air pollution by 2050, a major United Nations target, is for people to leave their cars at home and use public transport, ride a bicycle, or walk.
In countries with efficient and reliable public transport systems, the message, of course, is directed at commuters. But in the Philippines, government authorities should take that information as a compelling reason to phase out inefficient public transport vehicles like jeepneys, tricycles and pedicabs, and get maniacal bus drivers off the streets—the ones who run over pedestrians just to load passengers quickly for bigger commissions.
Good public transport, the researchers say, can cut carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles by as much as 40 percent. In the United States, the researchers estimate some $100 trillion will be saved by 2050 if people leave their cars at home when they can.
The Philippines can certainly use the large savings for other basic needs and services that remain inadequate.
Williams says, “The Global High Shift Scenario argues that private transport, and particularly car use, has been one of the main culprits for the rise in (carbon dioxide) emissions across the globe, particularly in the last few decades.” Carbon dioxide is a major contributor to global warming or the rise in the world’s average temperatures.
“Asthma and other allergies appear to correlate with rising pollution levels, as do certain cardiac events and, possibly, some cancers,” adds Williams.
Aside from promoting non-motorized forms of transport, like creating cycle lanes, the report suggests that authorities “should consider making it harder for people to have cars” in cities by having fewer parking spaces and parking garages, among other things. Infrastructure can cater to non-motorized forms of transport.
Rapid urbanization, the report warns, will mean traffic levels almost doubling by 2050, causing more gridlock that will be harder to resolve because of higher population density.
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