So, what happened to the bicycle lanes that the MMDA promised us by the end of June?

By Nicole Ganglani | Photo from Inquirer.net

Last June 13, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Department of Transportation (DOTr) vowed that EDSA will soon be filled with bike lanes to encourage more Filipinos to utilize bicycles as a mode of transportation. However, cycling advocates believe that the MMDA and DOTr haven’t made much progress since. 

Cycling Matters, a group dedicated to turning Metro Manila into a bike-friendly city, aired their concern regarding the government’s lack of progress via Facebook last July 13, Monday. The group pointed out that there are still no visible markings in some areas on EDSA.

According to Cycling Matters, “Though the DOTr said that painting lines would take 5 days, it took almost two weeks for them to appear in some areas. As of today there are still segments on EDSA that do not have the road markings,” a member of Cycling Matters says.

 

Two days before Metro Manila transitioned to general community quarantine (GCQ), the DOTr released a two-phased approach that will see more bike lanes, pedestrian lanes and bus shelters along the streets of the country’s main thoroughfare by June 30. The MMDA, who once advised cyclists to bike on sidewalks, said last June that they’re also running on a limited budget to complete the bike lanes project.

“Though the DOTr said that painting lines would take 5 days, it took almost two weeks for them to appear in some areas. As of today there are still segments on EDSA that do not have the road markings,”

The cycling group and multiple netizens believe that the direction of the bike lanes project and budget used for the entire plan have been unclear. Moreover, the group pointed out that the concerned agencies also failed to release a new time frame and updates regarding the project.

 

 The importance of setting up bike lanes now

The Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) has been encouraging citizens for months to use bicycles especially amid the pandemic. However, it’s clear that Metro Manila roads still lack the necessary infrastructure to turn it into a more bike-friendly city.

According to Anton Siy, chief transport planner of Pasig City, one way to promote safe city biking is to put up dedicated bike lanes. Cycling Matters also voiced that the MMDA must do more than just a “crammed” one-meter bike lane (which is what’s visible on EDSA right now) since one-meter isn’t enough to ensure cyclists’ safety. EDSA must be filled with bike lanes right now if the government is keen on making  citizens use bicycles.