Roughly four months after the implementation of the “experimental” traffic scheme, our road condition worsens and the lack of in-depth planning is becoming evident, leading to a presumption that perhaps the people behind the scheme are neither commuters nor drivers. Almost all streets are congested at any time of the day, worsening at the peak hours of 7am to 9am and 5pm to 7pm. Because of the one-way scheme in Lacao street, it can no longer be used by vehicles going to the general direction of Manalo street. Thus, vehicles are instead forced to take Rizal Avenue (either coursing through Fernandez or H. Mendoza streets), therefore adding congestion to Rizal Avenue, which supposedly is a priority to lighten up. Choking Rizal Avenue creates domino traffic congestion affecting Malvar, Baltan, San Miguel and San Pedro streets—in other words, our main thoroughfares.
I entirely agree with the observation from a reader of my previous article here that the position of multicabs and jeepneys at the corner of Lacao and Rizal adds delay and congestion in the area. I made the same observation at the corner of Rizal and San Miguel streets, which indeed congested the traffic flow along said intersections. These areas should be no more than loading and unloading areas—if necessary in order to protect the income of our PUV drivers, relocating these “terminals” will help.
As I acknowledge the efforts of the City Traffic Management in trying to address the condition through implementing a new traffic scheme and assigning more visible enforcers on the road, it is hard to miss that they are having a hard time engaging the drivers to follow. In fact, often they are helpless, and they look piteous and powerless glaring at multicab and tricycle drivers and pedestrians having their ways and ignoring basic traffic rules and road courtesies. I strongly believe that half of our problem can be lighten up through road discipline—a messy process but indispensable nonetheless, and will serve the City in the long run.
Maximizing Road Use
The road expansion projects are barely felt, unless of course for some who holds no shame in turning our streets as their personal parking spaces, and if drivers need not stop every 5 seconds because the vehicle infront of him is either making a u-turn (despite heavy traffic in both lanes) or loading and unloading passengers. This is a system rusting right before our eyes, and indifference will only worsen not only our traffic but also the habits and character of our people, drivers and commuters alike.
Not an Easy Task
I totally understand that planning for a better traffic scheme for Puerto Princesa City is not a walk in the park. With our narrow streets, concentrated business hubs and growing number of vehicles on daily basis, planners may sweat their hearts out and still no significant difference can be seen. Thus it is important to involve the people by strict and well- guarded implementation of traffic and parking rules. Anyway, when do we decide to begin discipline?