San Juan makes bike lanes part of ‘new normal’
MANILA, Philippines — San Juan City will open bike lanes that pass through every major point in the city, including its seat of government, public hospital and famed Greenhills Shopping Center, offering an alternative as sparse transport options left thousands of commuters stranded on Monday.
Mayor Francis Zamora said in a Facebook post that bike lanes would be a fixture in San Juan’s postquarantine state, especially as public transportation operated at only half its normal capacity on the first day of the general community quarantine in Metro Manila.
“In the past months, it was evident how useful bicycles are as a means of transportation in the middle of a pandemic such as COVID-19,” said Zamora, referring to the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, or the new coronavirus.
“It does not only enable the public to observe social distancing, it also is a sustainable and environment-friendly mode of transportation that promotes an active lifestyle,” he added.
The local government has partnered with Edsa Evolution, a network of organizations that advocate for bicycles and other forms of active mobility as a staple on roads, to carry out the initiative.
San Juan has allowed its 900 tricycle drivers to resume operations, but acknowledged that with new one-passenger limits, they would hardly cover the transport needs of the city’s 122,000 residents. Public utility vehicles like jeepneys, which can carry more commuters, are still banned.
World Bicycle Day
The first phase of the bike lane which will launch on June 3, World Bicycle Day, will run from N. Domingo Street to Ortigas Avenue, both of which are major San Juan arteries. The 4.21-kilometer route includes San Juan City Hall, San Juan Medical Center and Greenhills Shopping Center.
It will also take bikers close to the private Cardinal Santos Medical Center.
A map posted by Zamora showed the city planned to eventually expand the bike lane by an additional 13.8 km that would cover much of San Juan’s inner streets and more residential neighborhoods.
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