As part of the EDSA Busway scheme, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) closed down a number of U-turn slots along the thoroughfare, making travel faster for city buses plying their routes. However, the agency has had to contend with numerous complaints from private motorists over the resulting heavy traffic.
The MMDA is studying the possibility of reopening two U-turn slots to ease traffic along EDSA
The MMDA is now considering plans to reopen two of the closed U-turn slots to ease traffic buildup, especially with the holiday season underway despite COVID-19. In a public briefing, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia says that they have taken up the matter with the House Committee on Transportation, and are coordinating with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) as well.
“Kausap na namin ang DOTr kanina. Kanina rin po kausap ko si Congressman Sarmiento, ang chairman ng Transportation sa House. Pinag-uusapan namin ‘yung pagbabalik ng U-turn,” he said. (We have talked to the DOTr earlier, and I have also spoken to Congressman Sarmiento who chairs the Transportation Committee at the House. We’re discussing the possible reopening of the U-turn slots)
Closing the U-turn slots has helped shorten travel time for bus commuters
Although nothing has been confirmed as of this report, the two slots which could be reopened are the ones for North Avenue and Congressional Avenue. The former was the first U-turn slot to be closed last September and is in close proximity to both the Trinoma and SM North malls, areas which are prone to heavy traffic especially during the Christmas season.
According to MMDA Traffic Operations Chief Bong Nebrija, the eventual reopening of U-turn slots will be accompanied by additional infrastructure, specifically elevated bus lanes, to prevent traffic buildup.
“We will be identifying portions of EDSA where we could designate a U-turn slot,” he said. “Sa U-turn slot na ‘yon, gagawa tayo ng elevated busway. Sa ibabaw dadaan yung bus.” (On those U-turn slots, we’ll construct elevated busways where buses can pass overhead)
An elevated bus lane has been proposed as a long-term solution
Despite the complaints that the MMDA has received, Garcia says that the EDSA Busway scheme has been beneficial in reducing travel time for commuters.
“Binibigyan natin ng priority ang mga buses kasi ang isang bus, ang laman niyan ay nasa 30 pasahero.” (We give priority to buses because each bus can carry up to 30 passengers).
He also observed that the number vehicles using EDSA has decreased from nearly 400,000 in November last year to around 300,000.
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Joseph Paolo Estabillo