Osmeña Blvd next Road Revo target | Inquirer News

Osmeña Blvd next Road Revo target

/ 09:05 AM September 26, 2011

The next target of Road Revolution is October 23, a Sunday, when organizers plan to experiment with using half of Osmeña Boulevard for pedestrians, while the other half would be used for public vehicles.

A request for “partial” closure of the boulevard was made by environment lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr.in a letter yesterday to Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) chairman Jack Jakosalem.

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“We say ‘partial’ because we would like the other half of the road to be opened for motor vehicles. This whole movement is about sharing public space,” Oposa wrote.

The Oct. 23 date is still tenative, depending on the approval of Citom.

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In the proposal, Public Utility Jeepneys (PUJ) would be allowed to use the other half of the boulevard.

But instead of letting them drive around at will, PUJs would have to follow one after another in a single lane, and would travel on a given schedule, like a train.   Jeepneys would take turns, one at a time, leaving with a full load of passengers.  There would still be two-way traffic for PUJs on their side of the boulevard.

“That way, they will be ensured of  full fare, and fuel, money, and public space are not wasted by empty jeepneys,” Oposa said.

He also suggested putting up stop areas for motor vehicles and not allowing smoke-belching vehicles in the boulevard.

Half of the roadof the 2.3 km stretch of Osmena Blvd would be closed for pedestrian, bikers and runners and the other half of the road would be used only for public transportation and emergency vehicle.

The division would be the center island in the middle of Osmeña  Boulevard.

Oposa, who is advocating “sharing of public space” in favor of more pedestrian and bike lanes, and a non-polluting mass transit system, pioneered the first Road Revolution activity last June 12 on Osmeña Boulevard, where cars were kept out for a day.

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Last Saturday, Part 2 of Road Revolution saw Colon Street and two other downtown streets closed for the day.

The activitiy triggered several complaints from merchants, jeepney drivers   and commuters who were caught by surprise by the rerouting which was adopted on short notice.  Jeepney drivers and store owners complained about a drop in earnings and fewer customers.

Oposa admitted the need for better prepration and a longer time to alert the public.

“Rest assured that despite setbacks, we are determined to illustrate the working principles of what we are trying to advance – sharing of public space,” Oposa said.

Oposa asked the Cebu City Council to endorse the Oct. 23 experiment.

Jakosalem had reservations after last Saturday’s closure of three downtown streets for a Road Revolution reprise triggered complaints from jeepney drivers, merchants  and the riding public.

“We will have to seriously meet to discuss this,” Jakosalem said.  He will meet the Citom board on Thursday.

“I would love to have the Cebu city council involve and have their opinion,” Jakosalem said.

Jakosalem said the Oct. 23 activity may have less complaints since motor vehicles and commuters can still use the main road.

“We have to work together so there would be less public hassle,” Jakosalem said.

He admitted that there was a late dissemination of the road closures in downtown Cebu City last Saturday.

“It affected many people. Instead of getting the understanding of the public on Road Revolution, some were actually angry,” Jakosalem said.

Oposa emphasized that only five percent of the population own cars.

But Jakosalem said that the 95 percent without cars are still concerned with public transportation so a solution would be to meet “half-way.l ”

“If they want to encourage biking or walking, they should also not prevent others from riding motor vehicles,” he said. /Candeze R. Mongaya, Reporter

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TAGS: Cebu, Osmeña Boulevard, Road Revolution, vehicles
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