Cebu City mayor: Trees, center islands have to go to ease traffic
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is firm on clearing away road center islands in certain areas in Mabolo and cutting down trees in the process despite the opposition by some groups.
The plan is based on a careful study, and is not a whimsical move for upcoming international events in the city, the mayor said.
He also corrected local newspaper reports that all center islands along the entire Pope John Paul II Avenue will be dismantled. He said only those between the intersections in Archbishop Reyes Avenue and Cardinal Rosales Avenue will be removed. The center islands from the Carmelites Monastery up to the St Joseph Parish Church in Mabolo will remain.
“It’s not only because of the IEC (International Eucharistic Congress). It’s not only for the APEC [meetings]. This has become a real traffic area. Those coming from Mandaue will use it, those coming from Ayala will also use it,” Rama said on the sidelines of the press briefing on the IEC on Wednesday, July 15.
Rama told Rappler that the area where the center islands are to be removed is a convergence point of vehicles coming from Mandaue City and from the northern part of Cebu province.
If plans push through, less than one-fourth of the center islands along Pope John Paul II Avenue will be affected. There are about 20 trees – among them fire trees, acacia, and mabolo – that will have to be cut down.
The mayor vowed to observe government regulations in the cutting down of trees, and that they will only proceed with the plan once permits are secured from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
“Di ta manghilabot ug walay permit (We will not touch anything without permits),” Rama said.
Rama said removing the center islands in front of the archdiocesan seminaries will ease traffic in the area. The far end of the Pope John Paul Avenue is where the Cebu IT Park and the convention facilities of the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel are located.
Cardinal Rosales Avenue is an alternative parallel road to the heavily congested Banilad-Talamban corridor as well as to Mandaue City and the North Road of the province. The far end of the avenue dissects the Cebu Business Park where Ayala Center Cebu is located.
The archdiocesan seminary John XXIII compound is where the Pavilion convention facility is being constructed. It will be the main venue for the 2016 International Eucharistic Congress. – Rappler.com