MMDA defends ‘stairway to heaven’
Better to climb a “stairway to heaven” than cross the “highway to hell,” the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Tuesday as it defended the P10-million steel footbridge being constructed on Edsa-Kamuning in Quezon City.
The structure which looks daunting to people with disabilities, the elderly or those suffering from a fear of heights is expected to be finished by the middle of the month.
Located near the Manuel L. Quezon University, the footbridge is supposed to be a stopgap measure to avoid accidents on one of Metro Manila’s busiest roads, said MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago.
She pointed to MMDA data which showed that at least 10 accidents happen in the area every month.
“Pedestrians are either too reckless or lazy to look for safe crossing lanes,” Pialago said. “That’s the best compromise we can come up with instead of allowing them to just cross Edsa. What matters to us is the safety of the public.”
Most netizens, however, begged to differ. After pictures of the footbridge went viral on social media, a lot of them called it an eyesore and safety hazard.
Most traditional footbridges have a flat, single level pathway. Some are made of concrete and have a roof to protect people from the elements.
The Kamuning footbridge on the other hand, has an inclined pathway that is almost 45 degrees.
At its highest point, it hangs at least three meters above the cable wires of the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT 3).
The design was necessary because the MRT 3 railway tracks between the GMA-Kamuning and Quezon Avenue stations are almost the same level as the road. If that stretch had been elevated, this would have allowed the footbridge to be built underneath.
No overhead protection
Critics have also pointed out that the steel structure is completely exposed with no overhead protection.
Pialago explained that the MMDA wanted to prevent it from being used as a shelter by vagrants or as a hunting ground for muggers.
If the MMDA had its way, she said, the footbridge would have been made of concrete. But the agency’s lack of funds often mean making do with whatever resources it has.
“We can assure the public that the bridge is as safe as it can be,” she said. “But if they still think it’s too risky, then I suggest they walk another 500 m to the left to cross the Timog bridge, or the extra 500 m to the right to cross Quezon Avenue. That’s where they ought to be crossing in the first place.”
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