Traffic along the northbound half of Edsa in front of the Asian Development Bank and Poveda school in Mandaluyong City is horrid because of a windowless, three-storey building constructed underneath the MRT tracks. Yes, there is such a structure there. Late-model vehicles and numerous motorcycles can be seen in the parking area beside it. The purpose of that building is a mystery because it has no signages.
Because this structure eats up the innermost lane of the northbound half of Edsa at that particular segment, a bottleneck is created at that segment, with vehicles accumulating up to as far south as Boni Avenue.
Further reducing the available road space in this segment during the morning rush hours is the long line of vehicles at the outermost lane of Edsa starting at SM Megamall. These vehicles turn right at the road separating the ADB compound from the Poveda school and head for the Ortigas business center. Road cones separate this line from the other lanes of Edsa.
As a result, northbound motorists at that segment are left with only three lanes of Edsa, or four if they crowd each other.
Aggravating the problem at that area is the accumulation of vehicles at the approach to the left-turning ramp leading towards Ortigas Avenue. This happens each time vehicles convert the road in front of La Salle Green Hills along Ortigas Avenue to a private parking lot.
To ease the flow of traffic in that segment of Edsa, that mystery building has to go. Since private property can be expropriated by the government for road clearing operations, the MMDA should take steps to remove that building. Likewise, the MMDA should disperse all vehicles parked beside La Salle.
Northbound traffic slows down anew in front of Camp Aguinaldo because vehicles intending to turn left to Santolan Road are allowed to go under the Edsa-Santolan flyover from the innermost lane of Edsa, instead of from its outermost lane. Because there is a traffic light at the Edsa-Santolan intersection, vehicles headed there from Ortigas Avenue eventually accumulate at the two innermost lanes of Edsa, and create another bottleneck there.
Santolan Road-bound vehicles from Edsa should enter the Edsa-Santolan intersection from the outermost lane of Edsa. That way, the bottleneck is avoided.
Half of the northbound lanes under the Edsa-Quezon Avenue flyover across SM Centris has been converted into a waiting station by taxicab drivers. This forces Quezon Avenue-bound vehicles from Edsa to crawl their way in the remaining lane. Another bottleneck ensues, thus blocking the approach to the flyover.
MMDA general manager Thomas Orbos obviously does not know that there are no MMDA traffic enforcers in this area probably because Orbos does not leave his comfortable office in Makati.
The C-5 McKinley Hill intersection in Taguig should be closed because it also creates a bottleneck that delays vehicles on both sides of C-5. Only the oligarchs in McKinley Hill benefit from that unwanted intersection. Vehicles from McKinley Hill headed north should be re-routed to the overpass used by other vehicles headed for the northbound lane of C-5 from Bonifacio Global City.
As in Edsa, slow-moving vehicles also contribute to the traffic mess in C-5. The same can be said of motorcycles, whose reckless drivers invite potential vehicular collisions.
Before Orbos assumed office, a number-coding system regulated the volume of vehicles on Metropolitan Manila roads. Under this scheme, vehicles cannot use metropolitan roads during the rush hours, namely, from 7 to 10 a.m., and from 3 to 7 p.m., one day each week, depending on the last digit of the vehicle concerned. The 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. period was called the “window” during which the prohibition did not apply.
For reasons unexplained, the family dynasty ruling Binayland south of the Pasig River refused to apply the “window period” in their kingdom. That shouldn’t be a problem for the dynasty members—they have many cars with different license plate numbers.
At any rate, it was the mismanagement of the MMDA under Francis Tolentino and Emerson Carlos which led to the congestion of Edsa and C-5. They tolerated the bottlenecks, as well as the reckless motorcyclists and slow-moving vehicles using those roads.
Tolentino once created a “motorcycle lane” on Edsa and Commonwealth Avenue (in Quezon City) to keep motorcycles from getting in the way of other motorists, but he discontinued the scheme after the publicity he got from it ended. His successor Emerson Carlos continued the mismanagement of the traffic problem under Tolentino.
Despite their incompetence, Tolentino and Carlos at least did not resort to bans and restrictions when they headed the MMDA.
It now appears that Orbos is more incompetent than his predecessors. Instead of getting rid of the causes of the congestion in Edsa and C-5, Orbos has resorted to restrictive measures. More specifically, Orbos dispensed with the existing “window period” allowed under the number-coding system and imposed the once-a-week road use ban for a full 12-hour period, even outside rush hours.
Orbos may call that his solution, but only a bureaucrat with limited intelligence and insufficient insight will resort to restrictive measures, without first considering other solutions to a problem.
The Orbos “solution” is not only an unwarranted and unnecessary resort to a restriction of rights; it also favors the wealthy—who can afford to own more than one vehicle and, therefore, circumvent the 12-hour ban. Under the Orbos “solution,” the wealthy will be encouraged to buy more vehicles, which will even add to the volume of vehicles operating in the metropolis.
Like other government vehicles, the vehicles Orbos uses as MMDA general manager are exempted from his road use ban. This means government officials using government vehicles are free to use the roadways anytime they want to, and on any day of the week. It also means that the ordinary motorist—a taxpaying citizen in whom sovereignty resides—has less rights to use the roadways. (To be continued)