Rama to P-Noy: Stop two flyover projectsBy Edison delos Angeles
Cebu Daily News
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is asking President Benigno Aquino III’s help to stop the implementation of flyover projects proposed to be constructed along the intersections of M.J. Cuenco and General Maxilom Avenue and Gorordo and Archbishop Reyes Avenue.
In his Sept. 2 letter, Rama brought to Aquino’s attention oppositions raised against the two new flyover projects proposed in Cebu City.
“Please be informed that this is not the ultimate solution to the traffic congestion in those areas. Our stand remains that widening or roads and opening of alternative roads are still the best option for the (traffic) problems,” said Rama’s letter.
Rama told Aquino that since Cebu City is a heritage city, rich in culture and historical landmarks, “this part of the country does not need those kind of infrastructure (flyover).”
Rama also said that flyovers would affect business operations in nearby areas.
He appealed to the President to consider their stand and make a thorough consultation to get the true sentiments of the Cebuanos.
Instead of the flyovers, Rama proposed that the city come up with a transportation master plan.
Planning and traffic experts shared Rama’s view.
Engineer Fortunato O. Sanchez Jr., a masters degree holder of Civil Engineering at Stanford University, said the City’s Traffic Master plan was already 33 years old and almost none of it had been changed since it was developed by a team of Filipino and Australian engineers.
Sanchez said the plan was only good for the years 1980 to 2000.
“In 1998, that master plan should have been modified but it never happened,” said Sanchez.
He proposed to create diversionary and alternative routes instead of building flyovers.
When asked why the city had no traffic master plan then, Rama, who was still a councilor in 1998, said he wasn’t the mayor then.
Architect Maria Lourdes ‘Joy’ Martinez Onozawa, sustainability Specialist Consultant and Environment Planner, said she was worried that the Department of Public Works and Highways had no management strategy plan and no enforcement strategies in its study to build the flyovers.
Onozawa cited LTO records which showed that only five percent of Cebuanos own cars.
“The only immediate relief of having a flyover is the absence of traffic light. Beyond the flyover there’s traffic again,” said Onozawa, who called for a study to address the needs of the majority of the people.
However, Vice Mayor Joy Young said the opposition against the flyovers were like empty bags.
He admitted that there’s a need to come up with a master plan but this wasn’t enough reason to stop the flyover project especially since these were funded by the national government.
“It’s not practical nga naa na ang kwarta unya mag huwat pa ta sa master plan,” said Young.
He said instead of opposing the flyovers, Rama should instead focus on updating the city’s existing master plan.
Young also called on flyover critics to instead support a signature campaign to oppose the implementation of the Ciudad project, which was expected to worsen traffic along the Banilad-Talamban (Bantal) corridor.
Bantal businessmen and residents initiated a signature campaign to oppose the Ciudad project.
“Will they sign the petition with us to hold the Cuidad project for the next 10 years and until the road is widened?” Young asked.