The Metro Manila Development Authority is gearing up for its next road clearing operation, this time in Balintawak, Quezon City, one of the most critical areas of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue or Edsa with the worst traffic situation.
On Sunday, MMDA officials led by general manager and acting chairman Thomas Orbos inspected Balintawak, where they observed the presence of several vendors and illegal terminals of public utility vehicles such as jeepneys and tricycles in the area.
The inspection “is in preparation for a ‘Baclaran’-style clearing operation soon,” said Orbos, referring to what his agency did along Roxas Boulevard in Barangay Baclaran near the Redemptorist Church in Parañaque City, which is now cleared of vendors and illegal terminals.
Aside from clearing the service road along Roxas Boulevard, from C. Rivera Street up to the corner of Edsa, of obstructions, MMDA personnel, in cooperation with the local governments of Parañaque and Pasay City, also cleaned the area previously occupied by illegally parked vehicles and numerous stalls.
The MMDA is now consulting with vendors, PUV operators, local leaders, and owners of establishments in Balintawak to discuss the planned clearing operations that would ease traffic in the area.
Orbos recently signed an agreement with the Quezon City government and the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board to get rid of all illegal bus terminals and other structures for PUVs in the city.
The move, Orbos said, is part of the government’s solution to the worsening traffic situation in the National Capital Region.
MMDA records showed there are 85 provincial bus companies situated in Metro Manila. Forty-five firms have terminals on Edsa, particularly in Cubao and Balintawak in Quezon City and Taft Ave in Pasay City.
Under the agreement, the MMDA, LTFRB and QC government were authorized to conduct inspections and impose closure orders if the structures along Edsa are found operating without necessary permits.
It also authorized the MMDA to impose the Nose-In Nose-Out scheme policy, which requires buses on Edsa to get in and out of the terminals in one simple maneuver. The policy also prohibited buses to load and unload outside their respective terminals.
Some private motorists have complained that illegal structures of bus and jeepney terminals, illegal operation of tricycles, sidewalk vending, extension of stores, and the loading and unloading of bus passengers at non-designated areas are reasons why there is road congestion.
“We emphasize that finding viable measures to address the traffic problem in Metro Manila is a continuous process and may entail drastic changes and deviation from the present norms,” said Orbos.
The MMDA chief also appealed to the public for cooperation and understanding for what the government is doing to solve the problem on traffic.
The government earlier introduced new policies to ease traffic, and encourage private motorists leave their cars at home and use the public transportation instead.