VEHICULAR traffic in Metro Manila is set to worsen in the days leading up to the Christmas break, with up to 15,000 additional cars on the road during rush hour, even on weekends, according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA). The increase in traffic volume has become more pronounced in recent years, even on traditionally lighter traffic days like Saturdays and Sundays.
“Traffic used to be light on Saturdays and Sundays, but now, even on weekends, traffic is very heavy, mainly because people flock to malls during those days,” said Victor Nuñez, director of the MMDA Traffic Enforcement Group, during a public briefing on Monday.
The major thoroughfares in Metro Manila, such as EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) and the Circumferential Road 5 (C-5), which connects several cities, including Las Piñas, Parañaque, Pasay, Pasig, Quezon, Taguig, and Valenzuela, experience the most significant increase in vehicular traffic. While traffic flow is relatively smooth in the morning, the volume of vehicles significantly increases in the afternoon.
As the major thoroughfares get clogged during the afternoon rush hour, designated alternate routes, particularly the Mabuhay Lanes for private vehicles, are also affected. To address this issue, the MMDA’s Strike Force operates daily, even in the afternoons, to clear the Mabuhay Lanes and keep alternate routes free from obstruction. Additionally, a monitoring team collaborates with the Department of the Interior and Local Government to ensure that alternate routes remain unobstructed.
The MMDA anticipates an even greater increase in traffic volume as people begin to travel to their hometowns for the holidays. This “exodus” is expected to start on December 22, the last working day before Christmas Day.
Data from the MMDA reveals that traffic on major roads, particularly on EDSA, is slow-moving, with average speeds dropping to 16 to 20 kilometers per hour. These speeds are expected to plummet further as the holiday rush intensifies.
While proposals to regulate the sale of private vehicles as a means to address traffic congestion are being discussed, the final decision lies with the legislature and the Department of Transportation. Nuñez emphasized that controlling and limiting the number of vehicles is not within the mandate of the MMDA. He also highlighted that in other countries, vehicles that have reached a certain age are taken off the road.
As the holiday season approaches, it is essential for motorists to plan their routes in advance and be prepared for the increased traffic congestion. Considering alternative modes of transportation, carpooling, or using public transportation can help alleviate the traffic situation.
It is important to stay updated with the latest traffic advisories from the MMDA and follow their instructions to ensure a smoother and safer journey during this busy time of the year.
Despite the challenges posed by the holiday rush, the MMDA is continuously working towards finding long-term solutions to ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila. Collaborative efforts between the government, private sector, and the public are crucial in addressing this ongoing issue and improving the overall traffic situation in the city.
Source: The Manila Times