WITHOUT SIDEWALKS WE CANNOT SOLVE THE TRAFFIC PROBLEM

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WITHOUT SIDEWALKS WE CANNOT SOLVE THE TRAFFIC PROBLEM

Topic |  
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sundry-thumbby Jes B. Tirol

Proem

Happy Easter to everyone! I hope that the resurrection of our Savior will make you realize the worsening traffic problem in Tagbilaran City.

The use of more Traffic Enforcers is only palliative.  It is just like sweeping the dust in the living room in the house to hide it in the bedroom.  Sometimes the Traffic Enforcers will cause the problem because they do not know what the other enforcers are doing in some other street corner.

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To solve the traffic problem, we must analyze and understand the basic or fundamental cause of the problem.

My Study

In 2004, during the first term of Mayor Dan Lim, I was hired as a City Consultant to analyze the traffic problem in Tagbilaran City.  A vehicle traffic count was conducted, the traffic generators were identified, and the history of the road network of Tagbilaran was analyzed, and many others, the conclusion was the main cause of the traffic problem is the lack or absence of sidewalks in our streets.  It causes obstructions to traffic flow.

The Situation

The situation in Tagbilaran can be liken to the soliloquy of King Henry III of England in a Shakespearian Play.  He said, “For want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; for want of a horse the rider was lost; for want of a rider the battle was lost; for want of the battle the king was lost; for want of a king the kingdom was lost.” King Henry III attributed the lost of his kingdom to the lowly shoe nail of a horse.

We can paraphrase the soliloquy into, “Because there is no sidewalk, the pedestrian walks on the road pavement; because there are cars parking at the road side, the pedestrian will walk near the middle of road; because the pedestrian is now near the center of the road, the tricycle will stop to pick a ride; because the driver and passenger will haggle for the fare, the following vehicles will also stop; because the following vehicle will stop, the cross-traffic vehicle will also stop, a huge number of vehicles will stand still.  Since the vehicles will stand still, the business activities will suffer; because the business activities will suffer, the whole City will suffer.”

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Traffic Volume

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In 2004 about twenty thousand (20,000) vehicles will enter Tagbilaran in the morning and about 10,000 vehicles will get out. So we can say that about 10,000 vehicles parked inside Tagbilaran.  There are about 78 km or 78,000 meters of road in Tagbilaran.  If one parked vehicle will occupy 4 m of space, there will be 19,500 possible cars that can park.  It was more than the 10,000 vehicles.  However, if you will add the vehicles of Tagbilaran residents, the extra space will be smaller.

It was this situation that was addressed by Mayor Dan Lim.  He required that all new buildings will have a setback to provide parking spaces.

However today, 11 years later, the number of vehicles has increased tremendously.  In Poblacion I and Poblacion II, the business district of Tagbilaran, you can hardly find a parking space.  So the vehicles must move on.  However, the peculiar behavior of Tricycle drivers and riders still exists due to lack of side walk.  The result is a gridlock.  However, since tricycles and the ubiquitous motorcycle are included, I call it the “Balínsay Effect” in allusion to the native stick game of balínsay.

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The Missing Sidewalk

The Gallares Plan of 1916 provided with 10 meters wide road and 1.5m sidewalk on both sides of the road.  You can walk on the sidewalk from the Capitol Building to the Bohol High School and all streets crossing the Libertad St. (Now: CPG Avenue).

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Soon the National Road or Highway was expanded. You will notice that National Highways have no sidewalks.  The CPG Avenue (Formerly: Libertad Street) was expanded without the sidewalk.

In 1961 Tagbilaran became a city.  The first City Engineer, Engr. Modesto Butalid, was a highway engineer.  Highway engineers do not provide for sidewalks in the roads they construct.  When Mayor Vinancio Inting embarked on constructing, expanding, and asphalting the city roads, the highway engineers manning the City Engineering did not provide for sidewalks.

Now we have city streets that do not have sidewalks.  What little sidewalks we have is obstructed by electric posts and lamp posts.  I don’t know why these posts are place at the middle of the sidewalk.  In some places it is occupied by sidewalk vendors.  In effect the few sidewalks we have are not usable by the pedestrians.  The pedestrians are forced to walk on the road pavement.

The Sidewalk Is Basic

The sidewalk is a basic structure in a city street.  Without the sidewalk the pedestrian is forced to walk in the middle of the road.  The vehicles must slow down or stop.  Now that the numbers of vehicles are increasing everyday, in about five (5) years the vehicular traffic will be in a stand still.  All activities in Tagbilaran will be paralyzed.

Way back in 1972 I was asked by the City Council of Tagbilaran to make a proposed Building Ordinance for the new City of Tagbilaran.  Among its provision was that every roadside building must provide a 1.5m wide sidewalk.  City Councilor Engr. Francisco Bustrillos, the Chairman of the Committer on Engineering, gave me a “Thank You Letter” for my efforts.

The proposed ordinance was passed by the City Council but City Mayor Vinancio Inting did not sign it into an ordinance because of the opposition of the businessmen.

The reasoning was somewhat valid.  The former sidewalks that were demolished due to the expansion of the City Streets were already part of the land of the businessmen.  In fact even today, they are still paying real estate taxes for their lands that are already part of the City Streets.

So until today the sidewalk situation is not yet solved.  Soon it will be the main cause of the traffic gridlock in the City of Tagbilaran.

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