The unpleasant prospect of traffic congestion has raised concerns among Cebu City officials over the second phase of a major condominium project along Maxilom Avenue and Juana Osmeña Streets in Cebu City.
The Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) said it received a City Council resolution asking them to conduct a traffic impact study on Tower 2 of the Horizons 101 condominium project in the area.
“We are concerned about the worsening traffic at Maxilom Avenue and the planned high-rise projects there and at Juana Osmeña and other uptown areas where the streets are narrow,” Citom chairman Sylvan Jakosalem said.
Jakosalem said Citom received the council resolution three weeks before the Holy Week break.
A few days after Lent, a retaining wall on the condominium project’s Tower One site collapsed due to weak soil.
The wall’s collapse affected eight houses. A cease and desist order was issued by Cebu City Hall on the project which ordered the immediate evacuation of the affected households.
In a press statement sent over the weekend, the developer Taft Property Venture Development Corp. said the wall is only a minor part of the condominium project, which has yet to be started.
Jakosalem said a comprehensive traffic impact study on Horizons 101 Tower 2 is needed before Taft Property is given a locational clearance and building permit.
Aside from the condominium project, Jakosalsem said other high-rise establishments are located in the site which is too narrow. He said there was no budget for road widening.
“To be honest, we don’t have a budget for that especially in uptown areas where the property could be very expensive and you will dislocate so many residences and commercial buildings,” the Citom chief said.
Until the traffic study is completed, Jakosalem said he will recommend that any work on Tower 2 will have to be shelved.
“These condo units will have families in them. Can you imagine hundreds of vehicles leaving at the same time in the morning for school and work? Plus it’s not just school or work, all of them will return at the same time,” he said.
Jakosalem said the peak traffic hours in the Mango Avenue area are between 6:30 or 7:30 to 9 a.m when people go to school and work and at 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. when they return home.
“Now the traffic is already heavy and if that (Horizons 101) comes up, the traffic will be heavier,” he said.
He said other projects like the proposed Ciudad Complex and Banilad Town Center (BTC) submitted a traffic plan prior to construction.
Jakosalem said meetings were held between them and CITOM to discuss their traffic plan and parking spaces.
He said meetings with the Citom board are unnecessary unless the board sees the potential traffic problems in the area.
“It’s just social responsibility on their side. Before they get location clearance from zoning, they have to go to Citom first,” Jakosalem said.
He said Citom wants to know the parking spaces that the developer allocated for the condominium site.
“Theirs is a high-rise condominium project and their presence will impact on the traffic especially since they are located in main roads that we call traffic arteries,” Jakosalem said.
He said Mayor Michael Rama already made a memo based on their discussion on the project a few months ago.
“The City Council forgot that the condominium has has 101 floors,” Jakosalem said.
“We sent already letters to Taft to provide us with building plans. After we receive them then that’s the time we will meet them,” Jakosalem added.
The Citom chairman said Tower 1 of Horizons 101 secured a building permit and locational clearance.
“We’re focusing on Tower 2. Assuming they got their permit, we cannot revoke it. They should give us the plan now so that we could see the area they allocate,” Jakosalem said.
“If they don’t comply with what Citom require in terms of minimizing the vehicle flow, we can only recommend to the mayor not to grant them building permit to their Tower 2,” Jakosalem added.
He said even one high-rise building in Juana Osmeña has not yet submitted a traffic plan.
“There’s no guidelines yet to traffic to be given to the developers because there are different building designs and different areas,” Jakosalem said.
Jakosalem cited as an example the University of San Carlos Boys-High School at Maxilom Avenue, which he said submitted a “very good” traffic plan for their campus area expansion last month.
“The offset or the width of their parking space is important to determine their traffic plan,” he told Cebu Daily News.