‘QC to Makati in 5 minutes’ still doable via Edsa, says Villar
President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of a five-minute travel from Cubao, Quezon City, to Makati City is still possible this year via Edsa or another route, according to Public Works Secretary Mark Villar.
“Let’s not focus on the small details. What’s important is during the term of the President, we will decongest Edsa, and five minutes from Cubao to Makati is possible and we will do it,” Villar said at a Malacañang press briefing.
He said traffic on Edsa, Metro Manila’s main thoroughfare that is often congested, would continue to improve, reiterating that road and bridge projects were on track.
Two of these projects would be completed in the first half of the year to reduce traffic by 20 to 30 percent.
The Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 and the NLEx Harbor Link R10 Extension would be able to take in some 130,000 vehicles- and help reduce the 400,000 vehicles that traverse Edsa daily.
Villar also said that by the end of Mr. Duterte’s term in 2022, when the projects under the P384-billion Edsa decongestion program would be completed, the thoroughfare was expected to return to its original capacity of 288,000 cars per day.
“If we take all the decongestion projects, we can expect that the President will deliver on his commitment to decongest Edsa. If before you thought it was impossible, now the decongestion of Edsa is inevitable,” he said.
The Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 project, which is targeted to be completed by April, will connect North Luzon Expressway and South Luzon Expressway, and will allow travel from Balintawak in Quezon City to Makati in 15 minutes, Villar said.
This means traveling from Makati to Quezon City in five minutes within the year is possible, the secretary said. “He (Mr. Duterte) did not say [travel] through Edsa. The President just said Makati to Cubao, five minutes.”
Villar is correct on this point.
On June 8 last year, Mr. Duterte told Pastor Apollo Quiboloy on the latter’s television program that “You don’t have to worry about traffic. Cubao and Makati will be about five minutes na lang,”
Villar subsequently said the five-minute travel time from Cubao to Makati through Edsa was still possible.
“Edsa will be decongested when the Skyway is finished, so it’s possible also,” he said.
Possible at 180 kph
At present, travel time by car to and from the two ends along Edsa will take around 30 minutes on the average and up to more than an hour during rush hours, further worsened by rains, accidents or mall sales.
A vehicle on Edsa corner Aurora Boulevard may reach Ayala Avenue, a distance of 15 kilometers, in five minutes–if it is traveling at 180 kph.
Villar said Edsa traffic would continue to improve every year until 2022 when more projects should have been completed.
When it was pointed out to him that using the new Skyway would involve paying toll and people might prefer Edsa, he said there were people willing to pay.
At the same time, Edsa would be less congested, he said.
Other projects meant to decongest Edsa are the R10 widening, Nlex-Slex Connector Road, Mindanao Avenue Extension, Southeast Metro Manila Expressway, Manila-Cavite Toll Expressway, NaiaX Phase II, Laguna Lake Highway, Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Center Link Road that includes a bridge across Pasig River, Binondo-Intramuros Bridge, Estrella-Pantaleon Bridge, Pasig River and Manggahan Floodway bridges, and Marikina River bridges.
Even if new road networks are opened, the number of cars in Metro Manila will continue to grow, noted Villar. This is why the administration is bent on improving mass transit programs, the long-term solution to traffic, he said.
Villar said the subway and LRT extension projects were in the pipeline, along with the extension of the current railways.
“This is done in conjunction with the improvement of the work road network. The road network projects will decongest Edsa. Add the trains and you can see that the long-term situation would improve because of the master plan of our President,” he said.
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