The Metro Manila Development Authority has announced it was preparing measures to effectively address the anticipated monstrous traffic in the National Capital Region during the Yuletide season.
MMDA general manager Jose Arturo Garcia Jr. said the agency, led by its chairman Danilo Lim, invited shopping mall owners and operators to come to his office this coming Wednesday to discuss possible traffic scheme and other policies to be enforced during the peak buying months.
Garcia said they want the shopping mall owners and operators to assist the MMDA to further improve its preparations of appropriate traffic engineering and enforcement during the holiday season.
He added that they would urge shopping mall operators to adjust their operating hours to help minimize traffic, particularly along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, during the holidays.
“We would ask them to start operating at 11 am, an hour late from the 10 am regular opening schedule,” said Garcia, adding that this practice has been done in previous years.
Shopping malls and other commercial establishments located along EDSA generate heavier traffic during the Christmas holidays, according to the MMDA.
“We invited them to a meeting to have proper coordination because we cannot simply impose a policy without cooperating with mall owners. Dialogue is very important,” Garcia said.
At least 16 malls and shopping centers are located along EDSA.
Garcia said mall and shopping center owners and operators must coordinate with the MMDA during special events like promotions and midnight sales.
The MMDA will also ask the business establishments to provide the agency with the schedule of special events for the agency so they can make necessary adjustment of the traffic management in their respective areas.
Records showed that traffic volume rises 15 to 20 percent between November and December.
Last year, mall operators allowed the MMDA to deputize their security guards to help the MMDA in managing traffic along EDSA.
The agency trained the security guards on basic traffic management method used by its traffic constables and other volunteers from various local government units.
The method covers topics such as fundamentals of traffic management, traffic direction, control, and supervision, traffic law enforcement, basics of road safety, traffic accident investigation, road incident management, traffic engineering, and administrative rules and regulations.
At least 14 shopping malls and commercial establishments along EDSA joined the program.
“This is ongoing and a continuing program. Mall operators were asked to participate on traffic management within the vicinities of their malls as it is also for their best interest that traffic is well-managed in their areas,” said Garcia.
The shopping mall operators also agreed in 2017 to deliver their goods at nighttime from 11 pm up to 5 am the next day. They acknowledged that these measures helped ease traffic congestion within the vicinity of their establishments.
Meanwhile, Garcia said several infrastructure projects across Metro Manila have been completed while others are nearing completion in time for the holiday rush, including Concordia Bridge located President Quirino Avenue in Manila.
“The southbound lane of the Concordia Bridge was opened on October 4,” Garcia said.
The 10-kilometer long Laguna Lake Highway from Bicutan to Taguig is expected to be completed before the year ends. This would serve as an alternative route to Circumferential Road 5 and EDSA from south to eastern part of the Metro Manila.
Also, the Department of Public Works and Highways targets the opening of Harbor Link from Smart Connect to C5 Road this December.
“We are commending the DPWH for developing roads for us to have an additional and better road network,” said Garcia.