NIGHT OWL

Anna Mae Yu Lamentillo 1 1 244x300 - Bicycle lanes in PH will now be mandatory
Anna Mae Y. Lamentillo

In 2011, the Asian Development Bank examined walkability and pedestrian facilities in Asian cities. It showed that in Manila, like Hanoi, a sizeable number of the trips could be made by foot and bicycle because the average distance traveled per trip is low.  Data from the Metro Manila Urban Transport Integration Study showed that nearly 35% of destinations are within a 15-minute walk or bicycle trip, but the majority of short trips are made by paratransit (jeepneys and tricycles) and cars.

This was largely due to the fact that there was not much political support or policy or infrastructure that would address the needs of cyclists and pedestrians. It was almost impossible — and to a certain extent unsafe — to walk or cycle along national highways.

Fortunately, the vision for Philippine infrastructure is about to change.

With the issuance of DPWH Secretary Mark Villar of Department Order 88, all projects that involve new road and bridge construction shall include in its design the provision of bicycle facilities, if feasible.

This would mean that projects like the 6.94-km Laguna Lake Expressway, would now be the rule rather than the exemption. Three-meter-wide protected bicycle lanes will soon be a common site rather than a unique feature of the toll-free expressway connecting Bicutan to Taytay.

Since 2016, DPWH has been working on incorporating pedestrian infrastructure in public roads in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. But the issuance of this new policy hopes to institutionalize the creation of pedestrian infrastructure.

For instance, the Cagayan de Oro (CDO) Coastal Road, Davao City Coastal Road, Leyte Tide Embankment Project, Pasig Marikina Flood Control Project, Tagaytay Bypass Road, and Boracay Circumferential Road, are built with bicycle lanes.

This has been a trend for many progressive cities around the world. In fact, since 2007, Boston has built more than 144 kilometers of bicycle lanes. In Denmark, they constructed a “cycle superhighway” — a “coherent network of cycle highways” spanning over 20 cities and municipalities. In Amsterdam, museum enthusiasts can cycle through the Rijksmuseum, a 19th century museum famous for Rembrandt’s Night Watch.

Bicycle Facility Classifications

Under DO 88, bicycle facilities will be classified into three classes depending on the prevailing road and traffic conditions: Class I or the Shared Use Bike Path, Class 2 or the Separated Bike Lane, and Class 3 which is the Shared Roadway.

In Class I, a designated path, completely separated from the roadway, will be identified for the exclusive use of bicycles or shared with pedestrians. In Class 2, a portion of roadway which is designated for exclusive use will be distinguished by a paint strip, curb, or barrier. In Class 3, where limited carriageway width poses a problem, a part of the roadway that has been officially designated and marked as bicycle route may also be used by motor vehicles.

Soon, Philippines would be cycling country.

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