Group urges high court: Make way for bikers, PWDs

Rey E. Requejo
Feb. 18, 2014 at 12:01am

Share-A-Road Movement members and supporters trooped to the Supreme Court on Monday to file a petition for a Writ of Kalikasan demanding ample road space for  PWDs, pedestrians, bikers and covered walks. DANNY PATA

An environmental group  on Monday asked the Supreme Court to order the government to narrow roads for motor vehicles and widen areas dedicated for pedestrians and bike lanes.

In a 31-page petition for writ of Kalikasan, members of Share the Road movement sought relief from heavy traffic on major roads in the metropolis and the high levels of air pollution it causes.

The petitioners want the government to divide roads in half – one half for motor vehicles and the other half for efficient forms of public transport like covered walkways, bike lanes, bus rapid transit, and trains.

Among the petitioners  are  Dr. Virgilio Lazaga of the Philippine Medical Association and lawyer Antonio Oposa, a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee. Government estimated  that 80 percent of air pollution comes from motor vehicles.

To amplify their cause, they went to the high court from Rizal Monument in Luneta Park on foot or by bike. Petitioners and supporters including bikers, people with disability, and children trooped to the Senate to press lawmakers to enact a road-sharing law.

They pushed for the implementation of the road-sharing scheme under Executive Order 774, which requires the government to create a system that “shall favor non-motorized locomotion and collective transportation systems (walking, bicycling, and the man-powered mini-train).”

“Even the air space has not been spared with the government’s mania for building skyways. All land use experts agree that building more roads only increases traffic. Further, because soil that would have absorbed water is paved over with concrete, this aggravates our recurrent and ever-increasing episodes of intense flooding,” petitioners said.

Named respondents in the petition were the Department of Public Works and Highways,  Transportation and Communications,   Interior and Local Government,  Environment and Natural Resources and the Metro Manila Development Authority.

Petitioners said only two percent of the Filipinos are car owners but majority of the roads are given to them. They said they are car owners who would rather not have cars if only there is a good, convenient, safe and reliable public transportation.

To demonstrate their cause, they went to the high court from Rizal Monument in Luneta Park on foot or by bike.

They lamented that the construction of Skyway Stage 3 is a manifestation of the government’s bias for cars, which they want to fight.

Two senators took up the cudgels for the movement. Pia Cayetano, a healthy lifestyle advocate and biking enthusiast, cited the successful examples of Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Venice among bike friendly and most walkable cities. Loren Legarda, also a green advocate, batted for a shift to low-carbon lifestyle and to a more efficient mass transport system.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje welcomed the initiative of the Share the Road Movement, stressing that it would enhance enforcement of the  Clean Air Act.

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