Saturday, June 28th, 2014
There’s little argument over the need to enact a bike lane ordinance in Cebu City.
In this issue, both the Cebu City Council and Mayor Michael Rama agree that it’s important to decongest traffic and make the city live up to its goal of being a sustainable, environment-friendly metropolis.
The physical challenge is not about painting the lanes but how to overhaul the road network once the ordinance takes effect.
Rama said he wants wider sidewalks built first ahead of the bike lanes so that cyclists would travel safely on part of the sidewalk instead of compete for space among the motorists and public utility vehicles (PUV).
The most useful piece of advice came from Nigel Paul Villarete, Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) general manager, who represents the regional management council of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
In last Wednesday’s City Council hearing on the bike lanes ordinance, Villarete cited Singapore’s bicycle lanes as a possible blueprint for Cebu City. Singapore’s bike lanes are built separate from the roads.
In its website, Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) mentioned constructing a comprehensive network of cycling paths in selected towns that will “facilitate intra-town cycling by connecting cyclists from their homes to key public transport hubs, such as MRT (Metro Railway Transport) stations and bus interchanges, where they can continue their journeys on public transport.”
It mentioned that “cyclists will also be able to use these facilities to access key amenities such as neighborhood centers, markets and schools.”
Using Singapore as a reference point may be a good starting point since its land area is even smaller than Davao City. If they can build a bicycle lane network, why can’t Davao City or for that matter, the whole of Metro Cebu?
We go back to the reality of Cebu City’s road network which counts among its features potholes, cracks and uneven surfaces, a still incomplete set of flyovers and ongoing rehabilitation on major roads like S. Osmeña Boulevard.
Then there’s the whole attitude of motor vehicle drivers , who don’t give a second thought to sideswiping bicycle riders who aren’t easily visible on the road. We already have a tought time getting drivers of cars, jeepneys, taxis and motorcycles to observe road courtesy toward each other.
It’s necessary to prepare four-wheel drivers for the concept of sharing a road. Safety can’t be compromised.
Cebu City is a good starting point for the bike lane upgrade. This will require a closely coordinated effort with national government agencies, the city government, traffic enforcers, cyclists and the other motorists to see it fully realized.