Surviving 60 kph in Commonwealth Avenue

When the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) announced back in January 2011 that the maximum speed along Commonwealth Avenue (QC) would be reduced to 60 kph,  I tried to convince myself that this is a good policy. I was trying to argue against this initial reaction — slowing down everyone is the easiest alternative to the proper implementation of existing traffic laws.

60 kph would reduce the number of accidents along Commonwealth Avenue, justifiably dubbed as the Killer Highway. Driving at 60 kph would give more reaction time, either to avoid hitting someone (or something) or being hit by other vehicles. There will be less accidents.

I don’t see this policy being implemented in the wee hours of the morning. Retired Makati Judge Reynaldo Laigo and his wife were killed in Commonwealth Avenue when a bus rammed into their vehicle at 4:30 a.m.

There are footbridges in Commonwealth Avenue, yet so many pedestrians don’t use them and still cross with brazen disregard for their safety, as well as the safety of those driving through this road. With 18 lanes at the road’s widest, it’s like playing patintero with cars and buses. Insufficiently-lighted portions. Extra-wide  road. Dark evenings. People crossing. Recipe for disaster. Hit someone, even if it’s not your fault, and you get slapped with a case.

Controlling the vehicles seems to be easier than controlling the pedestrians. Not enough traffic officers to man the entire stretch of Commonwealth Avenue. Besides, when I asked two MMDA officers why they are not apprehending jaywalkers, they answered that they fear for their safety. It’s easier to control drivers/vehicles than the pedestrians. It’s easier to slow down everyone, by imposing the 60 kph limit, than implementing anti-jaywalking regulations.

Or maybe we should ask why people are not obeying traffic laws, and not unfairly harp why traffic officers are not implementing them. They can only do so much. Then again, you obey traffic regulations in Subic because you know these regulations are zealously enforced. Classic chicken-or-egg dilemma.

4 comments

  1. There are questions that MMDA should have stated to the public with regards to their 60 KPH policy along Commonwealth Avenue:

    1. How did they come up with the 60 KPH figure? Was it scientifically determined or just a gut feel?

    2. Are they capable of implementing it 24/7 along the whole stretch of the avenue?- As the saying goes “the law applies to all or none at all”

    3. Can they strictly apply their policies to both drivers and pedestrians? You can not isolate one from the other.

    AND THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION:

    4. What would be their REAL reason behind the 60 kph rule? Was it really to DECREASE fatalities along the killer hi way or to INCREASE “MMDA’s” revenues?

    MMDA is also planning to implement the 60 KPH to Roxas Boulevard and Osmena High way (SLEX). Very interesting. There seems no common attributes between Commonwealth and Roxas blvd/ Osmena High way (Number of fatalities per year, Number of lanes, pedestrian traffic, etc.)

    This would put us back back to the last question, “Was it really to DECREASE fatalities along the killer hi way or to INCREASE “MMDA’s” revenues?”

    Evidently for both Roxas Boulevard and Osmena High way (SLEX), we would rather put up with some accidents and drive faster. We would experience the super slow driving as a waste of time.

  2. Journalist and UP Professor Lourdes Simbulan died when the taxi she was riding got reared by a speeding bus. One, MMDA is inutile against buses. Why? Two, what’s the use of the no-contact apprehension when in the meantime people are dead? Aanhin pa ang fines kung patay na ang mag tao? Totoo na mas madali na magpataw ng fine at mangolekta ang MMDA. Pero patay na ang mga tao. Kung magpapa-dyaryo ang MMDA sa mga ginagawa nila sa Commonwealth, wag puro press release. MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, sir, tama na po ang pa-pogi. Suggestion ko po, dumaan ka ng Commonwealth na peak hours at sa gabi, walang wangwang, at kung maswertehan po kayo at hindi mabangga ng bus, at least makita nyo ang tunay na ginagawa ng mga tauhan ninyo ang mga tauhan ng QC. Kung wala kayong magawa, kung inutile kayo, tanggalin nyo na lang mga patakaran sa Commonwealth. Palibhasa kung magbyahe kayo may escort na police.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *