Urban planner pushes for ‘pedestrianizing’ select streets in Philippines
MANILA, Philippines — Can a street in your neighborhood be made into a mini-park?
An urban planner and transportation expert on Tuesday sought to make more streets in the country pedestrian-friendly to become a place for active transportation, exercise, and maybe even business opportunities.
Robert Siy of Move As One Coalition said pedestrianizing select streets would also be helpful in the time of the epidemic when people need some open space and some sun.
He said that it is safer to stay out in well-ventilated areas than inside while encouraging Filipinos to use the streets as a place for active transport, play, and exercise.
“This is a concept that we see in many other countries where they are able to make some of their streets car-less and at the same time make it more usable for the community, for children, for more green space,” he said in an online media forum organized by the Department of Health (DOH).
Siy also shared that a pedestrianized street can be decorated with an abundance of greenery.
“You can actually decorate a pedestrianized street with more greenery and then it becomes almost like a mini-park in your own neighborhood,” he added.
Siy also highlighted the potential benefits of pedestrianizing streets to Filipinos’ health and well-being and its ability to revitalize neighborhoods and open gates to economic activities.
For instance, a restaurant can use some space on the street for outdoor dining, said Siy.
“Let’s use our streets to provide that extra space,” he said.
A November 2020 poll conducted by the Social Weather Stations and commissioned by the DOH showed that 85 percent of Filipinos believe that their city or municipality can become a great place for walking and cycling.
Meanwhile, 87 percent agreed that roads would be better off if public transportation, bicycles, and pedestrians are given priority over private vehicles.
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