MMDA bracing for traffic mayhem

The bridges that would allow many motorists to bypass the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) are already there: Use them.

An official of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) issued the advice over the weekend as the agency prepares for “the worst” with the resumption of classes on 22 August and full face-to-face schooling on 2 November.

MMDA traffic official Bong Nebrija identified some of the new bridges that motorists may utilize to avoid being trapped in heavy vehicular traffic along EDSA.

Nebrija said among them are the Sta. Monica Bridge connecting the cities of Pasig and Taguig, and the Pantaleon Bridge linking Mandaluyong and Makati City.

Likewise, the San Juan and Guadalupe Bridge in Mandaluyong may also be used to and from inner city roads, he said during the virtual weekly “Balitaan Sa Tinapayan” media forum.

Based on pre-pandemic data, up to 460,000 vehicles pass through EDSA daily even if its holding capacity should max out at 288,000. The MMDA has said it expects traffic in the metro to worsen once classes resume.

Nebrija revealed the MMDA will hold a traffic dry-run starting today, 15 August, in preparation for the 22 August opening of classes. The agency has also expanded the numbers-coding scheme to include the 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. period on top of the 5 to 8 p.m. period.

During the said time frames, vehicles with license plates ending at 1 and 2 are barred from metro streets Mondays, 3 and 4 Tuesdays, 5 and 6 Wednesdays, 7 and 8 Thursdays, and 9 and 0 Fridays.

Meanwhile, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board announced last week it would open about 100 new routes that would allow buses, jeepneys and UV Express vans to travel to Manila’s University Belt.

Previously, buses were barred from entering Manila, and were forced to turn around at two integrated terminals, to the utmost hassle of commuters who needed to take multiple rides to destinations that in the past required only a single ride.

Nebrija told journalists that the MMDA has met with various stakeholders, including the schools to urge them to open their campuses for use as parking by their faculty and students so they do not spill over into side streets.

He said they’ve also met with transport leaders to appeal to them to police themselves by strictly following road regulations, especially by loading and unloading only on designated zones.

The MMDA official said they would be fielding at least three traffic enforcers per school.

He stressed that the no-contact traffic apprehension system would remain operational despite the many complaints that had been raised by the public against it, both against MMDA’s and those operated by local government units.

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