EDSA road-sharing scheme: Crazy or enlightened?
Comments on Rappler's article as well as on Facebook revealed a spectrum of opinions on the experimental traffic scheme supported by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Some dismissed the exercise right away as "crazy." On the opposite end, others lauded the scheme as enlightened. There were also those who stood on middle ground, saying they wanted to give it a try and would pass judgement only after.
What is your opinion? Take Rappler's poll on the issue:
Those who oppose the exercise think it will just cause more problems on traffic-cursed EDSA.
"Less road area for cars on EDSA = more cars on inland routes. More congestion on smaller roads. Which is better?" said rayborja in his article comment.
"Are you serious? Sobrang traffic na nga edsa tapos gaganyanin pa?," said Angelo Macadaan on Facebook. (Traffic is so bad in EDSA then you will do this?)
Some suggested fixing the public transportation first before introducing a scheme limiting private cars on the roads.
"The main reason why people buy private vehicles is because there's no efficient public transportation. And regarding the size of sidewalks, 1 meter is too small. Why not make it at least 2 meters?" quipped louiebacani.
Commenter kleomarlo said: "I'm not sold to this idea dahil (because) I think it will cause more problems than what we already have. Buti sana kung maayos ang ibang alternative modes of transportation kagaya ng train pero hindi eh (It would be okay if alternative modes of transportation like the train are efficient but they aren't)."
Others thought it unrealistic to expect people to walk on EDSA.
"Minsan na nga lang magiging maluwag ang edsa pag linggo, ganyan pa gagawin niyo. Lane #1 walk lane? sino gagong mag lalakad sa EDSA ha?!" commented byron vargas.
(It's only rarely that EDSA is not congested, on Sundays, and then you're going to do this? Lane #1 walk lang, what is that? Who is crazy enough to walk in EDSA?!)
'Give it a try'
But other netizens were quick to defend the road-sharing exercise.
Heritage advocate and prominent online figure Carlos Celdran commented on Facebook, "To everyone who is bitching about this idea. It's a trial run to see how it works. It's not forever. It's just for a study and to introduce concept. Let's not be cynical. Cars are killing Manila and the cynicism just fans the flames."
Commenter AkosiAgs also wanted to tone down the skepticism: "dami ng mga negative people. try muna siguro bago kayo mag complain (So many negative people. Try it first before you complain)."
Others were jubilant, even proclaiming they were excited to bike on Sunday.
"SO EXCITED FOR THIS ON SUNDAY!!! Hahaha this will be one of the rare (for now) chances to bike safely along EDSA so I will milk this opportunity!" said Jen Horn on Facebook.
Mark Ponce also wrote on Facebook, "Everyone, get on a bike or put on your walking shoes because this is the one chance we have to get our walking and biking space on the streets."
There were even those who wanted to take the exercise to a whole new level.
Facebook user Kathy Dionisio suggested, "Sana buong EDSA from Monumento to MOA. And try din nila ng weekday off peak hours (It should be the whole EDSA, from Monumento to MOA. And they should try this on weekdays, during off peak hours). This is a good move."
Those on the middle ground voiced their reservations but concluded that the scheme was still worth a try.
Christine Llanes Templa worried about the pedestrian and bike lanes being on the same level as cars, an arrangement that can lead to accidents. She also hoped the exercise would be done in smaller roads instead of EDSA.
She, however, wrapped up by saying, "But there's no harm in trying it out para ma-improve ang system we need to see it in actual."
Others hoped the buses will stick to their assigned lanes.
The organizers of the EDSA road-sharing event are not surprised about the fierce reactions.
"People reacting is a good thing," said Karen Crisostomo of the National Bicycle Organization, one of the groups behind the event.
"As mentioned, we said that nothing is perfect from the start and that we, as citizens are trying to do our part in seeking solutions to the daily congestion and pollution that we experience on EDSA instead of just sitting back and complaining," she told Rappler.
She admitted that the road-sharing scheme is just one of many possible solutions to Metro Manila's traffic woes.
But trying out something new, if radical, is better than being "resigned and complacent," she said.
She also appealed to everyone to help make Sunday's initiative work as such a scheme depends not only on government enforcement.
Bus drivers, she said, should use non-smoke-belching buses and stay in their designated lanes, even when loading and unloading passengers.
This was a commitment organizers were able to get from the city and provincial buses.
Because the bus system is supposed to be more efficient on Sunday, she encouraged private car owners to try out public mass transportation. Car owners can also car-pool with each other.
To commuters, she asked them to wait and alight only at official bus stops.
Cyclists are requested to stay within their lane and practice road courtesy.
Crisostomo also expressed a concern shared by some netizens – that the MMDA should make sure sidewalk vendors do not block the sidewalks, walk lanes and bike lanes.
The bottom-line for Crisostomo is that EDSA in its current state cannot get any worse: "We have nothing to lose but more to gain by trying." – Rappler.com