By Romer R. Butuyan
MANILA — House Committee on Metro Manila Development Chairman and Manila 1st District Rep. Manuel Luis “Manny” T. Lopez on Tuesday announced that the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) will reopen the U-turn slot in front of the Quezon City Academy along EDSA starting Friday.
During the committee hearing through video conferencing today, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia confirmed the agency’s decision to Lopez, heeding to the appeal of many motorists including the local government of Quezon City, to reopen the said U-turn slot.
“We are all one in recognizing this traffic situation has already reached such magnitude and that there is really no easy fix to this problem… Today, the MMDA acknowledged the gravity of the problem and has promised by Friday to immediately cooperate with concern governments and… open-up a U-turn slot this Friday,” Rep. Lopez said.
“Our goal is to have long-term and effective solutions to our traffic problems. Until we achieve this goal, our committee will continue monitoring the development of the projects to ensure that the public is given what it deserves,” he added.
Garcia explained that the decision was made in consultation with the Quezon City government, whose residents have been greatly affected by the traffic jam triggered by the closure of many U-turn slots along EDSA, which is part of the EDSA Busway Project that exclusively designates the innermost lane of EDSA to buses. He said other U-turn slots may be opened to emergency vehicles.
Meanwhile, Lopez asked the MMDA to ensure the safety and welfare of the commuters and motorists in the implementation of the project, stressing the crucial impacts of heavy traffic in the major thoroughfare.
“This issue does not only affect the residents of Quezon City, or Caloocan, or Makati or those residents or localities that is traversed by EDSA,” the lawmaker said. “This issue affects the whole of Metro Manila and in a large part the whole of the country,” the House panel head pointed out.
“Traffic and delays in this major thoroughfare spill over to most of other roads in the metropolis. With this traffic in all areas affected, precious time is lost. Irrecoverable time of our people and economic losses which if quantified will surely be substantial,” he further stated.
Quezon City 1st District Rep. Anthony “Onyx” Crisologo, QC 6th District, Rep. Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, and Quezon City 4th District Rep. Jesus “Bong” Suntay, who attended the hearing, also welcomed the plan to reopen the U-turn slot to address the bottlenecks on the roads near their districts.
For her part, Elvira Medina, chair of the National Center for Commuter Safety, thanked the committee and MMDA for prioritizing the welfare of the public commuters this time. (AI/FC/MTVN)