‘Emergency powers not sole solution to traffic woes’
THE PRESIDENT can be given emergency powers but this was not the only solution to the worsening traffic problem in the country, according to an architect and urban planner.
“Of all the proposals I am seeing now, the granting of emergency powers will not solve the [traffic] problem; it will only alleviate the situation because what is being proposed is about the supply side of transportation—the roads and vehicles,” architect Jun Palafox said in a recent forum at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City.
Palafox, who helped build environmentally sustainable cities in other countries, said the government should also focus on the “demand” side of transportation which was land use.
He also called out government agencies for creating urban plans that were “short-term and opportunistic.”
Palafox expressed disappointment over the government’s “bias for automobiles” by building more roads and elevated expressways when only two percent of the population own cars while the rest are pedestrians and commuters.
“Constructing elevated highways [to solve traffic problems] are like cheating on your diet while loosening your belt. Fifty years later, those will become elevated parking spaces,” he said.
According to Palafox, the country was stuck with the postwar Los Angeles model in the United States which was already considered by American urban planners as “a 70-year-old mistake.”
He compared the gated villas and car-dependent dwellers of Los Angeles to the exclusive villages near Edsa in Metro Manila whose residents were “too afraid to interact with the ‘tsinelas’ community.”
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