Make Metro Manila a 'walkable' city, says expert

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2016 12:54 PM

Internationally renowned architect and urban planner Felino "Jun" Palafox on Wednesday said the incoming administration should focus on making Metro Manila more pedestrian-friendly.

"First 100 days, make Metro Manila walk-able. Like maybe, every kilometer, pedestrian and bicycle bridges across Pasig River, San Juan River, and Marikina River," he said on [email protected]

He also suggested that an elevated walkway be constructed across the 27 kilometers of the Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) for pedestrian and bikers.

These walkways would also have to be disaster-resilient "because we will be walking after the big earthquake."

Palafox said walking is the first mode of transportation, but the Department for Transportation failed to consider and develop this.

"Our Department of Transportation. I was told they have more lawyers than traffic engineers and transportation planners. And there’s too much analysis paralysis," he said.

Meanwhile, Palafox also suggested that the new administration review the planning initiatives already submitted to the government and update them within the first 100 days in office.

As the leader of the the World Bank-funded MetroPlan Manila, Palafox recalled suggesting "congestion charging."

"When you enter Metro Manila from the toll plazas of the North and South Luzon Expressways, maybe you double the tariff. Then getting out of Metro Manila, libre. You don’t have to pay to get out."

Incoming transportation secretary Arthur Tugade said President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will ask Congress to grant him the authority to solve traffic congestion in the capital that has deteriorated into a crisis.

Palafox supports this call, saying Metro Manila needs "a rehabilitation czar for traffic, transport."

He cited that after Typhoon Yolanda devastated Eastern Visayas, the president instated a rehabilitation czar, but the post was not effective, because he served as a coordinator instead.

"I thought we would have something like Douglas MacArthur reconstructing Japan, or Eisenhower in the Marshall Plan," he said.

"Most Filipinos claim they want to coordinate, but they don’t want to be coordinated," he added.