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New MMDA chief takes on traffic problem

TWO extra lanes have been added to Roxas Blvd. from Vito Cruz to T.M. Kalaw, visibly improving the flow of traffic in that perennially crowded route that connects Metro Manila to Cavite and Southern Luzon.

Elsewhere in Metro Manila, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has been steadily enforcing traffic rules. During a one-month period from May 24 to June 23, it recorded 7,586 no-contact and 92 out-of-line apprehensions, and apprehensions of 80 colorum buses and eight cargo vehicles.

It towed 578 illegally parked vehicles and impounded 2,523. Its impounding areas at Ultra in Pasig City and Tumana in Marikina City have run out of space so that MMDA announced last week that it is auctioning off 153 vehicles unclaimed since 2007 to 2012.

Immediately upon assuming his post as chairman of the MMDA, retired General Danilo Lim said he would take a “back to basics” approach to the problem of Metro Manila traffic, focused on the strict enforcement of traffic rules and regulations.

He said he would go after colorum vehicles operating without franchises, ambulant vendors blocking the movement of vehicles, and illegally parked cars. But he said he also realizes that these are just symptoms of the problem of corruption. These would not dare to do what they do if they were not in contact with someone in authority, he said.

Chairman Lim also closed down three bus terminals in Quezon City, for lack of necessary permits and for violating traffic regulations. Seven other terminals are due for inspection. The many bus terminals along EDSA have been determined to be one cause of traffic jams, especially in the Cubao area.

These are among the moves taken by the MMDA in recent weeks. There is yet no major comprehensive plan. That would require major steps such as the construction of new roads and overpasses, opening of new areas to meet the expanded needs of the metropolis, and substantially raising the level of efficiency of the mass transit systems to encourage Metro Manilans to use them rather than their private vehicles.

Until such a major overhaul of Metro traffic can be effected, we will have to get by with the many moves now being taken by the MMDA and its new chairman. Every little move helps. Together, they should improve traffic in the whole of Metro Manila, particularly in EDSA, Quezon Ave. and Quezon Blvd., España, Aurora, Rizal Ave., Taft, and Roxas Blvd., Metro Manila’s main arteries.