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By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Governor Gwendolyn Garcia points at areas with heavy traffic jam during the Cebu Provincial Traffic Management Board (CPTMB) meeting on Friday, January 10, 2020. CPTMB, led by Garcia, intends to take control over traffic management of national roads in Cebu Province. (Lito Tecson)

The Cebu Provincial Traffic Management Board intends to take control over the traffic management of the national roads in Cebu Province.

This after different traffic rules implemented by each local government unit (LGU) and lack of a unified guidelines were found to have greatly affected the traffic situation in the province, especially the Metro Cebu area. 

Invoking Section 16 or the General Welfare Clause of the Local Government Code, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia directed the Board to prioritize traffic management in national roads starting with the 20 intersections in Minglanilla town.

Section 16 reads that “every local government unit shall exercise the powers expressly granted, those necessarily implied therefrom, as well as powers necessary, appropriate, or incidental for its efficient and effective governance, and those which are essential to the promotion of the general welfare.”

Of the 20 junctions in Minglanilla, traffic build-up is observed to be massive at eight intersections with the heaviest at N. Bacalso Avenue (Cebu South Expressway) near Tres de Mayo Street fronting Gaisano Grand Mall. 

In Talisay City, the busiest junction is at the vicinity of Starmall, the thoroughfare going to the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR).

As for Cebu City, the heaviest volume of vehicular traffic in junctions is near the Mambaling flyover where vehicles from C. Padilla Street, F. Vestil Street (leading to SM Seaside), Tagunol Street, and N. Bacalso Avenue converge.

The governor has always been an advocate of the creation of roundabouts as a practical solution to the worsening traffic situation in Metro Cebu. 

Roundabouts, she said, have been found to be safer than traditional stop signs or signal-controlled intersections, effectively reduces delay in traffic flow, less expensive to build and maintain, and needs lesser space.

“Roundabouts don’t have to be big nga murag Fuente. Kana bang parehas gud sa Europe. Tan-awa na giunsa pag-design ilang mga roundabout,” Garcia told the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 representatives led by regional director Edgar Tabacon. 

By February 26, an ordinance will be proposed to empower CPTMB in taking control of national roads traversing cities and towns where massive traffic jams have been noted to have reached unbearable proportions affecting the quality of life of constituents.

In the process, LGUs will be invited to sit down with the Traffic Board to align policies on managing the traffic on national roads traversing their respective localities.

In a presentation made by Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 chief Victor Caindec, using a Google traffic heat map, it was found out that the volume of traffic in Mandaue City could be reduced by using inner roads left vacant because traffic enforcement focused more on the use of national roads.

Furthermore, test cases on the eight junctions noted for heavy traffic jams in Minglanilla could be facilitated. 

Dynamics include the installation of steel traffic barriers along the center line of the concerned road section restricting left-turning vehicles to and from Tres de Mayo Street, enforcing a ‘No loading and unloading policy’ 50 meters from the junction, and designation of proper U-turn slots.

In November last year, Garcia issued Executive Order No. 24 creating the CPTMB and an Advisory Council to address the traffic situation in Metro Cebu and its neighboring areas that is “worsening and reaching crisis proportion.”