BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-CAR) disclosed there was a reduction of around eight minutes in the travel time of motorists from Camp 1 tollgate in Tuba town up to the Camp 7 viewdeck in the city during the experimental implementation of the one-way traffic shceme along Kennon road on April 1-3, 2015.
In his report to Public Works Secretary Rogelio L. Singson, Engr. Edilberto P. Carabbacan, DPWH-CAR regional director, cited the reduction of eight minutes in the travel time of motorists was compared to the current travel time of motorists when the scenic zigzag road is on two-way traffic.
“More importantly, there were not accidents along the roadline during the implementation of the one-way traffic scheme going up to the city,” Carabbacan stressed.
He revealed there was also a reduction of traffic volume that went up to the city during this year’s Holy Week break compared to last year considering that there were 15,290 vehicles that went up to the city this year compared to the 18,647 vehicles that came up to Baguio City last year.
However, the 18 percent reduction on the number of vehicles that went up to the city during the Holy Week break could be attributed to the early warning from weather experts of the expected onslaught of Super typhoon Chedeng then and the much publicized start of the implementation of various road development projects that involved the diggings of contractors within the central business district.
On tourists, Carabbacan cited visitors who reached the city via other routes have to wait for the window time just to go down Kennon road to have their pictures taken at the Lion’s Head area thereby contributing to the overcrowding in the area.
On the concerns of the affected residents living in communities along the 34-kilomete roadline, the DPWH-CAR official cited the issues raised by the people could be summarized into the effect of the one-way traffic scheme to their freedom of travel that should not be curtailed, their livelihood should not be interrupted, the inconveniences of having to wait for the window time to go home and issues that concern emergency situations.
Some 12,529 residents living along Kennon road were said to have been inconvenienced by the three-day implementation of the one-way traffic scheme along Kennon road.
Among the other issues that cropped up during the implementation of the one-way traffic scheme along Kennon road include control of vehicles going down the roadline, inter-camps and barangay traffic, safety of personnel from the DPWH.
Carabbacan recommended in the event that the scheme will be tried again, there should be more time to coordinate, conduct public hearings and disseminate the information through flyers, print and broadcast media to all concerned, especially the affected local governments and their constituents to gain their cooperation and avoid the experienced antagonistic feedbacks coming from them.
He cited the identified problem on inter-barangay travel should be addressed by the barangays themselves together with the local police force since DPWH personnel are not actually equipped or in a position to apprehend violators.
If there are plans that the one-way scheme along Kennon road would be made permanent, Carabbacan said the same must be closely coordinated with the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Land Transportation Office (LTO) Traffic Management Group (TMG) and the police since they have in place traffic control mechanisms to deal with violators as well as the authority to issue out of line exemptions for public utility vehicles affected by the scheme.
He asserted the agency must issue an extended window time for the affected residents within the villages to be affected by the traffic scheme.
By Dexter A. See