Buying a car? Get parking space first
No parking slot, no car.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday pushed for the passage of his bill that would require proof of parking space before any vehicle purchase, a measure he said he believed would help ease congestion on Metro Manila’s roads.
Senate Bill No. 201, to be called the “Proof-of-Parking Space Act” once approved, mandates that “individuals and businesses based within Metro Manila would only be allowed to purchase vehicles after the execution of an affidavit confirming that they have acquired, either through purchase or lease, a parking space for the vehicle being purchased.”
The proposal also requires the Land Transportation Office, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and local governments to undertake frequent checks of major and secondary roads for illegally parked vehicles.
Those caught violating no-parking rules must be punished, said the senator.
“If passed into law, the Proof-of-Parking Space Act would play a critical role in the Duterte administration’s push to solve the traffic crisis. This law will help bring discipline back to our streets, for the benefit of vehicle owners and the commuting public,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
He cited the need for “decisive action” against illegally parked vehicles amid the transport crisis, saying he was open to granting President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers to deal with the daily headache of Metro commuters.
Illegal parking is among the problems that transportation officials identified as contributing to Metro’s road congestion on Wednesday, during the Senate committee on public services’ preliminary hearing on emergency powers measures.
Already, Metro Manila’s road network is 3,000 kilometers short to absorb the current vehicle volume in the region, pegged at 2.3 million in 2015, or more than a fourth of the national total.
Also on Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and other transport officials gave the Senate a rundown of possible solutions to the traffic crisis once the executive is granted emergency powers, among them unifying Metro Manila’s traffic management under a single authority.
Tugade warned that leaving the problem unresolved would lead to a traffic contagion, with the crisis already seeping into other key cities such as Cebu and Davao.
“It is happening in Cebu, and it is already starting in Davao. If we don’t pay attention, what’s happening on Edsa will be replicated everywhere and anywhere,” Tugade said, referring to the congested highway that serves as the barometer of Metro Manila traffic.
He noted the region’s current hodge-podge traffic enforcement, with authority divided among the MMDA and Metro Manila’s 17 local government units (LGUs).
“We need a synchronized traffic system. Remember that traffic management on radial and circumferential roads are borne by the MMDA, but once you turn right or left (into secondary roads), the authority is with the LGUs,” Tugade told the committee on Wednesday.
Tugade also proposed the use of roads in private subdivisions as alternative routes.
“Our choices for private roads will not be arbitrary or whimsical. That we will not compromise the safety of the subdivision… And we can discuss the matter of road maintenance,” said the official.
The Department of Transportation is also considering the transfer of 27 bus terminals from Edsa. Transportation Undersecretary for Roads and Infrastructure Anne Lontoc noted how buses would occupy two lanes every time they enter or exit terminals, holding up traffic.
She also expressed hopes that future improvements in the transportation system would “encourage car users to use public transport,” thus decreasing vehicle volume.
Giving emergency powers to President Duterte would also speed up the long-delayed release of driver’s licenses and license plates earlier stopped by court injunctions, Lontoc said.
Other land transport solutions on the table are the use of the bus rapid system, expansion of the point-to-point bus service, and even the use of cable cars.
For the equally congested air transport system, officials are looking to ease the “overconcentration of flights in Manila” through empowering the Civil Aeronautics Board to redistribute air traffic, said Transportation Undersecretary for the Air Sector Bobby Lim.
The Manila International Airport Authority is also planning to transfer general aviation services—air services involving charter, cargo and aviation training—outside Metro Manila so that the main airport’s existing infrastructure can be maximized for passenger flights.
Transportation Undersecretary for Rails and Toll Roads Noel Kintanar said emergency powers could help speed up the procurement of spare parts of metro train systems and Philippine National Railways trains, citing current problems on the supply chain that compromise maintenance. TVJ
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