Expert warns of worse traffic with proposed elevated EDSA expressway

A transport economist warned that the proposed elevated steel expressway over EDSA to resolve the issue of traffic congestion could unintentionally worsen the problem instead of resolving it. 

At the Road and Traffic Expo, The STAR reported that Jedd Ugay from AltMobility said San Miguel Corporation’s proposal to build an elevated 10-lane highway over Metro Manila’s busiest thoroughfare could change the mindset of the riding public and encourage them to buy and use more cars.

According to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority’s annual daily traffic, 80 percent of vehicles plying EDSA, Taft Avenue, Ortigas Avenue, Aurora Boulevard, and Commonwealth Avenue are private vehicles that are only carrying 20 percent of the total passengers.

“I believe it will create more traffic… 80 percent are not yet using cars. Imagine, if you double that to 50 percent of people using cars, then easily, that 10-lane elevated Edsa will be congested,” Ugay said.

He added that the proposed “elevated EDSA” will also become an “eyesore” that would inadvertedly worsen the already congested look of the city. 

“Not to mention that it’s not appealing to the eye — seeing this towering elevated toll road on top of everything else,” he said.

Ugay, a Chevening scholar in transportation economics, said that utilizing urban space is the most efficient way by encouraging more people to use public utility vehicles instead of driving their cars.

“If you shift the mindset, you’ll be able to serve more people even without that elevated 10-lane expressway.  Anything that makes traffic better in the short-term (represents) narrow-minded vision. If you really want long-term solutions, we have to shift to more efficient transport modes,” Ugay asserted.

“Car use is an inefficient use of space. We have to prioritize people movement instead,” he added.

The MMDA supported the construction of the elevated EDSA expressway to ease traffic in the already choked thoroughfare, but the corporation has to ensure that the steel posts will not be an obstruction on sidewalks, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia has said. – With Marc Jayson Cayabyab/STAR

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