Don’t you just hate it when the Panagbenga comes along and long lines of vehicles start trooping up to Baguio, creating bottlenecks and all kinds of traffic congestion each and everywhere in our city?
Adding to that are the thousands of motorcycles of every make, model and color zigging and zagging everywhere, and parking in any almost every nook and cranny of our city, unmindful of the discomfort they bring to our residents and other visitors alike.
As a result, during the days the grand Panagbenga street dancing and float parades are held, and much also during every long weekend we have, not only do our local residents, but even our own taxi and public utility jeepney drivers prefer to stay home to avoid the irritating traffic jams we experience all around our city, which lead to more pedestrian congestion and very long lines of passengers trying to get a ride each and every way.
How about the road-widening projects ongoing around Baguio, especially the one being implemented between the Baguio General Hospital Compound and Camp 8 barangays along Kennon Road?
I do hope that they finish that and make it passable to vehicular traffic on or before February 25 and 26, when the grand street dancing and float parades are scheduled. If not, just imagine the very, very heavy traffic we could expect along Kennon Road then. That would definitely radiate all the way up to the BGH rotunda and further up to the Palispis-Aspiras Highway.
And I also hope that the road-widening project there doesn’t end up like the one between the Baguio City National High School main campus and the Baguio Lions Clubhouse along Governor Pack Road, which is now being used as a parking lot for big provincial buses and other large vehicles.
Can’t our city government or the Department of Tourism just put out an advertisement in national daily newspapers or on television which invites both foreign and local visitors to Baguio, especially for the Baguio Flower Festival, but to leave their vehicles back where they came from?
That would make Baguio a much better place for them to visit, without any unneeded heavy vehicular traffic, lesser air pollution, and with most people just walking around enjoying themselves and our cool weather.
Like I mentioned in this column last week, we already experience so much traffic congestion with the over 30,000 vehicles registered in Baguio City, and we certainly don’t need another 19,000 vehicles or more to come up here to add to our problems.
The Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group should make sure that vehicles don’t park along our highways, not only during the Panagbenga, but any time of the year. It already is a violation of the Traffic and Transportation Code of the Philippines to park anywhere along our highways. But in some of our city’s barangays – like in Camp 8 and Puliwes – their barangay officials even had parking triangles not only painted in bright yellow along the highway adjoining their communities, but on the sidewalk itself, which is another gross violation of the same code. In Camp 8, even the vehicle license plate numbers are also painted in those parking spaces, showing which vehicle is preferred to park in that particular spot. Is there a payment or parking fee for this prioritation? What kind of thinking is that? Imagine, giving more priority to those big, bulky metallic giants than to the poor, more accident-prone pedestrians?
Going back to the Panagbenga, the Session in Bloom would also be a good time to seek the assistance of those police trainees we see around the downtown area these days, to improve police visibility and to make sure pickpocketing and other minor violations are kept to a minimum.
And it’s good to note that the Baguio Flower Festival Foundation furnishes trash cans all around Session Road during the Session in Bloom. Couldn’t our city government do the same the whole year round? I’m sure that our city government has many good designers and/or artists who can plan out how those more permanent garbage bins could look like so they would not only be functional but aesthetic as well.
This would lessen the burden of our street sweepers and give pedestrians an alternative so they don’t just scatter their used plastic drinking cups and other garbage along our streets and sidewalks.
Well, it’s just a week to go before the crowds will be coming up for the grand Panagbenga street dancing and float parades. I do hope that our visitors enjoy themselves during their stay here, but I hope much, much more that our local residents will also go out of their homes and enjoy themselves even better.
Here’s to hoping that we all have a better, more colorful and more enjoyable Baguio Flower Festival this year.
Walk Happy, Baguio City!!!