HPG: Selfies welcome on Edsa but…
The Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) is encouraging the taking of selfies—but only in documenting traffic accidents—on Edsa and adjacent thoroughfares.
According to the PNP-HPG which has been placed in charge of managing traffic on Metro Manila’s busiest road, motorists may use their smart phones and tablets to document the damage to their vehicles to minimize traffic buildup.
Supt. Oliver Tanseco, PNP-HPG spokesman, noted that in some cases, accidents result in heavy traffic as the parties involved refuse to move their vehicles until the arrival of the traffic investigator.
“If there are no deaths or physical injuries, [the drivers] can just take photographs of the damage and the position of the vehicles and other important aspects of the accident,” Tanseco said.
He added that they should also take photographs of the road condition or weather situation at the time of the accident, including if the area is near an intersection or traffic light as well as the licenses of all drivers involved.
They may then go to the nearest police traffic sector to present the pictures so that they could get the necessary documents to get their insurance claims processed.
“If the accident is near the intersections assigned to the HPG, they can approach us. We have traffic investigators [who will] address their concerns,” Tanseco said.
He added that starting on Monday, the PNP-HPG would strictly enforce a “no parking zone” policy on Edsa and adjacent streets.
“We will apprehend [the drivers] for traffic violations. We are here to manage Edsa, part of it is enforcing traffic laws,” he said.
The PNP-HPG is now coordinating with the interior department and local government units to repeal resolutions and ordinances allowing parking on roadsides, especially in areas near Edsa.
Along with a warning that it will get tough on motorists starting Monday, the PNP-HPG—in cooperation with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)—will be implementing several changes on Edsa to improve traffic flow, including closing or transferring several U-turn slots.
During the agency’s weekly radio program on Sunday, MMDA Traffic Engineering Department chief Neomie Recio said that they recommended the following changes:
— Relocation of U-turn slot on Edsa-West Avenue southbound. Recio explained that the U-turn slot used by motorists to turn right to North Avenue would be moved to a spot before the Quezon Avenue flyover.
“Vehicles going to North Avenue which are utilizing this U-Turn cause traffic on that part of Edsa,” she said.
Recio added that the MMDA has also suggested placing safety devices like separators and signs on the northbound lane since vehicles coming from the flyover need to be aware that there are vehicles making a U-turn.
— Closure of U-turn slot on the service road of Edsa-Santolan northbound. The HPG, according to Recio, also observed that traffic flow slows down before the Santolan flyover because of vehicles making a U-turn at the two U-turn slots below the flyover.
“They recommended that the U-turn on the service road be closed and that motorists can choose to utilize the one in the middle of the intersection,” Recio added.
— No right turn on Edsa southbound when traffic light is red for vehicles coming from Bonny Serrano Avenue in San Juan City.
“It was also observed that vehicles coming from San Juan can turn right any time on Edsa southbound [from Bonny Serrano] even when buses and cars from Cubao are crossing the intersection using the two-lane service road,” Recio said.
As a solution, the MMDA suggested that vehicles coming from San Juan should only be allowed to turn right on Edsa when the traffic light flashes green.
Recio said they also proposed to widen the southbound service road in Santolan to three lanes since there were a lot of vehicles using this area.
She explained that the highest daily vehicle volume on Edsa was observed in Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City, with 360,000 vehicles; followed by West Avenue with 357,000; and then Santolan-Ortigas with more than 300,000 vehicles.
“So we really paid close attention to these areas and made some adjustments,” Recio added.
On Friday, the HPG and MMDA announced that the bus stop in the Kamuning area would be moved closer to Q-Mart to prevent the traffic buildup caused by loading and unloading buses.
About 250 MMDA traffic constables will also be deployed to Edsa to help the 150 HPG members assigned to man traffic on the busy thoroughfare.
Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, who was tasked by President Aquino to lead and oversee government action to improve traffic flow on Edsa, earlier vowed to make the necessary adjustments to speed up travel time.–Julie M. Aurelio and Maricar B. Brizuela
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