Ex-MMDA chair Fernando: Why push bicycles on EDSA?
MANILA, Philippines — Marikina Rep. Bayani Fernando, who was also a former chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and mayor of the city, has opposed plans to establish bicycle lanes on EDSA even as commuters seek means to travel while the nation’s capital region remains under general community quarantine.
During the online hearing of the House committee on Metro Manila development, Fernando said bicycles are free to use other roads and should not be allowed in already-congested roads like EDSA.
“Kahapon o makalawa, nakita ko sa headline na gagawa ng – ginagawa na yata ngayon ang – bicycle lane on EDSA. Ang ano ko’y, ang dami naman nating roads, bakit ba sa EDSA natin pinagpipilitan?” Fernando said.
(Yesterday or two days ago, I saw in the headlines that a bicycle lane will be constructed – or is being constructed – along EDSA. For me, we have so many roads, why are we insisting on bicycles on EDSA?)
Fernando cited his experience when he visited Wuhan City in China where bicycles were once prevalent as a mode of transportation. This, however, was no longer the case as years passed, he said.
“Unang-una, ano bang prospect, ano ang future ng bicycle? Nasabi ko na noon ang Wuhan, which is a sister city of Marikina City, when I was mayor and was invited there, nakita ko two lanes ang bicycles, bumper to bumper,” Fernando said.
(What is the future of bicycles? I have said this before that in Wuhan, which is a sister city of Marikina City, when I was mayor and was invited there, I saw two lanes of bicycles – bumper to bumper.)
“But when I went back there 15 years ago or about 10 years ago, wala nang namimisikleta sa (no one uses bicycles anymore in) Wuhan. It should be an eye-opener for us,” the lawmaker added.
According to Fernando, the reason behind this is the improvement of public transport, which should also be the focus of the government.
“Baka mamaya, nagsi-stick tayo sa wish natin na bicycle but I think sa Wuhan, the answer to that question, bakit nawala ang bicycle sa Wuhan? Because may public transport na sila,” Fernando said.
(We might be sticking to our wish for a bicycle lane but I think in Wuhan, the answer why bicycles vanished is because they now have public transport.)
“Ako sa Marikina built the most expensive bicycle lanes in the country but I was so disappointed after, walang nagbi-bisikleta. So, ‘yan din mangyari sa atin. Before even thinking of elevated bicycle lane on EDSA, nako ‘wag na,” he added.
(In Marikina I built the most expensive bicycle lanes in the country but I was so disappointed after, no one uses bicycles. So this would happen to us, too. Before even thinking of elevated bicycle lane on EDSA, well, better not.)
Fernando’s pronouncements came after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and MMDA said that it would start construction of protected bike lanes along EDSA.
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