MMDA pushes bus express lane on Skyway 3
LONG before the completion of the Skyway Stage 3 project, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has asked the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to designate an express lane for buses on the elevated roadway, one of the major infrastructure projects aimed at easing the capital’s perennial traffic jams.
MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino proposed the setup of a dedicated bus line on the expressway which will stretch from Buendia in Makati City to Balintawak in Quezon City. This special lane, he said, would particularly help in decongesting Edsa, where 27 express buses are currently in operation from Ayala Avenue in Makati City to Fairview in Quezon City.
In a meeting last week, the DOTC proposed that the dedicated bus lane be opened on the ground level rather than on Skyway itself. “For sure vehicles will move to the Skyway and thus decrease (vehicle) capacity on the ground, so this is our opportunity to have a dedicated lane under Skyway,” DOTC senior adviser for planning, Robert Siy, said during the meeting.
Siy then explained that Skyway’s design allots more than 100 kilometers for rapid bus transit. “We wanted to explore a model like that in China where a bus lane runs underneath Skyway. In Beijing, they developed a bus priority lane on the expressway which can shorten travel time to 30 minutes, as opposed to one-hour travel by car.”
But in an interview on Monday, Tolentino said having the bus express lane on ground level would only add to the volume of vehicles—including cargo trucks going to the port area—under Skyway.
The MMDA chair said these proposals and “necessary adjustments” for the bus express lane on the Skyway should be considered now before its scheduled completion in 2016.
Skyway Stage 3 is a 14.82-km elevated expressway which will have eight interchanges: Buendia, Quirino Avenue, Plaza Dilao-Nagtahan, Aurora Boulevard, E. Rodriguez Avenue, Quezon Avenue, Sgt. Rivera, and Balintawak.
The P26.65-billion project is expected to reduce travel time from Buendia to Balintawak from the usual two hours to just 15-20 minutes.
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