As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to limit mobility choices for the majority of Filipinos, one must either spend for a personal vehicle or brave the risk of contracting the virus while taking public transport. A third option is traveling by bicycle, and there’s now a bigger incentive to pedal your way around.
Cyclists in Metro Manila can now benefit from a 313-kilometer bike lane network
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has inaugurated the 313-kilometer Metro Manila Bike Lane Network on Tuesday, July 27, in a ceremony attended by officials from various government agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the Land Transportation Office (LTO). The event was also marked by the turnover of 27 bikes donated by Megaworld Corporation to the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (i-ACT).
“Today marks the end of the long wait of cyclists to have safe and quality bike lanes here in Metro Manila, because today we are formally inaugurating the third leg of the completed 497 kilometers of bike lane networks established in key major cities in the country,” said Transport Secretary Art Tugade, through his representative DOTr Assistant Secretary Mark Steven Pastor.
A total of 27 bikes were donated to the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (i-ACT)
The bike lanes span 9 major roads in 12 cities in Metro Manila and are equipped with either concrete delineators or flexible bollards. Other features include white and green pavement markings using thermoplastic paint, bike signages, solar-powered road studs, and bike racks. The facilities cost more than Php 800 million under Republic Act 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, joining the recently completed bike lanes in Cebu and Davao City.
MMDA Chairperson Benhur Abalos cites Google data in saying that 500,000 searches were made about bicycles in May 2021, jumping to almost 1.5 million the following month. He adds that according to the Bureau of Customs, the Philippines exported almost 1 million bicycles, increasing to 2.1 million in 2020.
Government officials cut the ribbon to symbolize the opening of the Metro Manila Bike Lane Network
With the current vehicular volume in EDSA approaching pre-pandemic levels of 405,000 per day, Abalos underscored the importance of bicycle commuting even as traffic conditions on the country’s busiest thoroughfare have improved. “Bumilis ang speed from 11 kilometers per hour, naging 23 because of several issues (The speed increased from 11 kilometers per hour to 23 because of several issues),” he said, citing the EDSA bus carousel system and the opening of three intersections which, he said, allows motorists to save up to Php 4.5 billion in gasoline and time saved.
Representing DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, Regional Director Eric Ayapana says that the bike lanes on Metro Manila alone serve anywhere between 1,280 and 2,500 bikers per hour for every meter according to studies. He adds that approximately 67 roads in the National Capital Region became biker-friendly through the constructed bike lanes.
More bike lanes are being constructed for cyclists in Metro Manila
Pastor adds that there are additional bike lanes being constructed in the cities of Muntinlupa, Parañaque, and Las Piñas. These are scheduled to be inaugurated within three months.
Keep up with more infrastructure updates at Philkotse.com.
Joseph Paolo Estabillo