The City Council is deliberating a plan to establish bicycle lanes along major roads in the city.
Councilor Nesario Awat, chairman of the committee on legal matters and author of ordinance SDR No. 64-2019, is seeking to promote biking as a mode of transportation in the city. The ordinance was brought to the public’s attention as limited transport services were observed during the imposition of lockdowns, which were further reduced in carrying capacity upon the “new normal” standards set.
Awat initially explained that the bicycle lanes might not be feasible as the roads in the city are narrow, citing “preferential” applications for major and secondary roads.
“Hindi naman masasabi na exclusive talaga. When we say exclusive, meaning kung ‘di naman talaga ginagamit puwede rin magamit ng mga four wheels, but there will be a preferential ride on the part of the riders to use it,” Awat said.
Judge Jose Bayani J. Usman, who participated in the public hearing on Wednesday afternoon as a bike enthusiast, expressed concern about the implementation of biking regulations.
“We understand but the problem is ‘yong implementation. Unang-una, wala tayong mga traffic enforcers sa bawat corner so, we cannot really enforce the traffic rules for the preferences of bikers over all other enforcers natin,” Usman said.
Usman also pointed out that certain “undisciplined drivers” may hamper the ease of bike lane utilization.
“Walang disiplina ‘yong mga tricycle drivers dito, including multicab drivers. Kung saan-saan sila humihinto. Sa ibang lugar nagagawa naman nila. I think we can do this on political will on the part of our government,” Usman added.
City Philippine National Police (PNP) director Sergio Vivar Jr. said that he is in full support of the ordinance, but establishments that “provide no parking area” to their customers should be penalized.
“If that lane will be pushed through and we have 1.5 meters each tsaka maririnig natin ‘yang illegal parking na yan, more trouble para lang ma-implement ‘to,” Vivar added.
The ordinance sits at the second reading pending the Council’s concurrence on the recommendations discussed during the public discussion.