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ROUGH CUTS | What has happened to our traffic lights?

AS we wrote yesterday in this space, there was bedlam all over the vicinity of Davao City’s major public elementary and secondary schools like the Davao City National High School (DCNHS), the Sta. Ana National High School (SANHS) and the Daniel R. Aguinaldo National High School (DRANHS), all within the city’s central district.

    There were long lines of students all wanting to get inside the schools to find their rooms and meet old classmates.  However, due to the strict implementation of health protocols to obviate any possibility of another massive CoViD 19 infections among students and teachers, school authorities had to make sure those getting inside the campus undergo the necessary physical check including their compliance of the mask wearing requirement.

     So we found the same situation tolerable because the immediate cause of the human traffic in the school vicinity was to ensure that the class opening will not become a “super spreader” event for the deadly virus.

    The congestion however, was not just school scenarios yesterday. Davao City’s major roads in the city proper and those leading inside and outside of the city center were also scenes of humongous vehicular traffic, one situation that stalled people movement and added up to the messy situation in the city’s downtown area.

     According to those who came down to the urban center for some transactions or to attend the first day of classes, adding to the bedlam was the apparent lack of public utility vehicles that plied the various routes. In other words, the observers claimed, there were more private vehicles lording over the city streets than PUJs and minibusses. The situation resulted to so many people, mostly students, waiting for rides in designated terminals or along city roads normally part of the utility vehicles’ route in the city proper.

     Moreover, the vehicular congestion was very overt in road junctions where traffic lights are not functioning; and there were many of them, according to no less than the head of the city’s traffic management office.

     Yes, we ourselves have noticed over the past few months that there were so many traffic light installations all over the city’s downtown that were not functioning as expected. Either the traffic lights were totally off, or just keep on blinking to the chagrin of motorists.

     And as admitted by the traffic management chief Ret. Police Colonel Dionesio Abude, more than half of the total number of installed traffic lights were not functioning as of the first day of school last Monday.

     Adding to the chaos as we have noticed is the absence of enforcers or aides to man the traffic.  Drivers who make their “being in a hurry” as an excuse in maneuvering their vehicles to their advantage at the expense of others find themselves becoming the cause of further delaying the clearing of the traffic congestion.

     Perhaps many are now questioning what happened to the multi-million traffic signalization project of the city government? This project implemented over ten years back has led to the installation of a so-called sophisticatedly run traffic lighting system that cost the city over eight hundred million pesos.  Has the city not contracted a firm with its people’s specialization the maintenance of a computer-operated traffic lighting system?

     We are asking the questions because the apparent failure of the city government to repair the system is quite difficult to ignore. In fact its long delay in restoring to normal operation is getting to be noticed with critical suspicion now that the face-to-face classes are starting to be normalized.

     Imagine with the bulk of the over 1.20 million students expected to be going back to school this school year are enrolled in Davao City schools! Even if they come to classes on different schedules, still their number is something of a record that needs a huge volume of public transportation to cater their travel needs.

     So, any further delay in the repair of the traffic lighting system by the city government would only mean more days added to the burgeoning traffic situation.

     Thus, if making every traffic light functional to at least ease the traffic burden in the city is part of the solution to the problem, then the repair of the same must be done soonest.

                                                             

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