METRO Manila traffic has been steadily improving these last few weeks. The recent rains – and consequently the cancellation of classes in many cities and nearby provinces – helped to keep down the number of vehicles in Metro streets. The increased fuel prices have also helped. But there is evidently much better traffic management.
The many “choke points” such as the intersections of many streets with Epifanio de los Santos Ave. (EDSA) still have many vehicles lining up, but not as much as before. The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) under Chairman Danilo Lim is said to have concentrated on these choke points, including the removal of some bus terminals in the crowded Cubao area.
Obstructions that used to be tolerated on many side streets and sidewalks, such as sidewalk vendors’ stands and parked cars, have been removed. There has been a training program for traffic enforcers who have become more knowledgeable and confident in enforcing the rules and dealing with drivers and operators of public utility vehicles.
In one incident some months ago, MMDA traffic supervising officer for operations in Quezon City’s Sector 6 Edison Nebrija found himself being confronted by a local police officer trying to protect a jeepney from being towed away.
With the aid of a Facebook posting, the MMDA traffic enforcer prevailed in the encounter and the apprehension of traffic-violating jeepneys proceeded.
The obstruction clearing operations and the stricter enforcement of traffic rules have evidently contributed a lot to the improved traffic in Metro Manila. When the Department of Transportation’s plans to retire old jeepneys and replace them with newer, less polluting vehicles, we should see further improvement in the traffic situation.
The plans of the Department of Public Works and Highways to construct so many overpasses, bridges, and new roads should be a major step forward in the overall plan to end the traffic problem which has made Metro Manila one of the world’s most congested cities. But these major construction projects will take years to complete.
In the meanwhile, we must depend on the MMDA and its program of traffic training and enforcement. We have seen the improvement in recent days and we hope to see more of it in the coming weeks and months.