Transportation Futures

There is a bike in our future.  This, if the Quezon City Government is to be believed and being a QC resident myself and an advocate for alternative and eco-friendly transportation, I doff my hat (or plastic shield in these pandemic times) to them whose actions put our beloved city in the map as the city with the most bike lanes in all of Metro Manila. Come to think of it, Quezon City is officially the capital of the country (although Manila is now more like it in practice); among the 16 highly urbanized cities (HUCs) comprising the region, Quezon City also has the biggest population in 2015 with 2.94 million, and according to the Commission on Audit’s (COA) list of cities with the highest revenue earned in 2015, Quezon City claimed the top spot with PHP16. 37 billion in reported income. And on top of all those honors is its claim as being the most bike friendly in the region — from the previous 55 kilometers, the Quezon City Government has almost doubled its bike lane network to 93 kilometers.

MMDA chairman Benjamin Abalos Jr., who is a strong advocate of biking, has lauded the leadership of QC Mayor Joy Belmonte for having the most extensive bike lanes in Metro Manila that promotes the active transportation amid the COVID-19 pandemic wherein mobility is important. Last May 22, the city inaugurated the expanded bike lane together with local and national government officials and bicycle riding organizations biking from Quezon City Hall to Elliptical Road, Quezon Avenue, Agham Road, and BIR Road, using the city’s designated bicycle lanes. 

For her part, Mayor Joy said, “This is in line with our commitment to make Quezon City a bike-friendly city where bikers can reach their destinations safely and quickly.”  The city government began to improve and expand existing bike lanes to accommodate people who have shifted to biking due to limited transportation options during the lockdown. The improvement of the bike lane network is also deemed as essential infrastructure in adapting to the new normal. At the same time, Belmonte reminded motorists not to obstruct the bike lanes after the city government apprehended more than 600 motorists for illegal parking.

As another measure of road and biking safety, the city government has upgraded bike lanes by placing barriers in major thoroughfares, signages and road markings to ensure the safety of bikers. It has also announced that the city will roll out its bike registration program, which will be voluntary for bikers or bicycle-riding groups. Bikes will be documented in an electronic database and assigned a unique number. “This program aims to help cyclists find stolen or missing bicycles, and assist them should they get involved in an accident,” said Belmonte. “The registration costs P150.00. Numbered stickers will be given to those who choose to avail of the program as proof of their registration,” she added.

Now for some motoring news: The most popular vehicle in the United States is going electric. Ford has revealed the F-150 Lightning, an all-electric version of its popular pickup truck due out in 2022, and it’s aggressively priced for an EV. The base model with 230 miles of range starts at $39,974, while the extended range version starts in the mid-$50,000s and can go about 300 miles. The base model Lightning is even slightly cheaper than its comparable hybrid F-150 counterpart. Most electric vehicles to date have cost more than their gas counterparts, but Ford is the closest to bucking that trend. Ford has already started taking reservations  with 44,500 signing up within 48 hours of the car manufacturer’s announcement.

Ford as some history buffs may recall has revolutionized the world of cars with its Model T, the first mass-produced car that launched the motoring era in the early 1900s. When trade observers noted that Ford is trying to build the Model T of electric vehicles with this latest effort, the world of motoring basically stood up in attention to what would be the defining moment for the coming of electric vehicles as the emerging mode of transportation in our 21st century. In the words of Ford CEO Jim Farley, “It’s a watershed moment to me,” in his remarks to the press of the electric truck, which was formally unveiled with no less than US President Joe Biden commending Ford Motors. “It’s a very important transition for our industry” according to Farley. And I say to all and sundry, electric vehicles – cars, trucks, and even planes are on the horizon and it is a welcome news for all of us and Mother Earth.

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