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  1. Join Date
    Oct 2002
    How do you solve a problem like Manila? (part II)
    COUNTER FLOW By James Deakin (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 31, 2013 - 12:00am

    Last week, I opened the gates of hell when I wrote the first installment of a series of proposed solutions to the problem we now commonly refer to as Metro Manila. It was a fairly controversial article that was shared almost 2,000 times on Facebook alone and attracted tens of thousands of responses. In case you didnít catch it, you can always read it online at the philstar.comwebsite just so weíre all on the same page. Donít worry, weíll wait for you.

    Done? Ok. As a recap, basically the closest thing to a solution for our traffic problem comes down to having state-run buses, removing informal settlers by creating opportunities for them outside Metro Manila, encouraging businesses and even schools to have staggered working hours or even 4-day work weeks, and charging a congestion charge for peak times.

    Now comes the tough part. Discipline. The reason I did not mention it in part 1 is because expecting anyone to follow the rules when our authorities turn a blind eye to the buses would be like swimming with an umbrella and expecting not to get wet. By canceling every franchise and taking over, the government would not only drastically reduce the volume of traffic but set a solid enough example to finally demand the full cooperation of the private motorist. Just ask Erap.

    Initially it may be hard. But tough times need tough people, and even if it means privatizing the enforcers, then so be it. Just look at the SCTEX, NLEX and Skyway. They are basically private security hired by a private corporation deputized by the LTO and are great examples of how discipline, when properly enforced, can be maintained. They enforce their speed limits relentlessly and are known to not give an inch to violators, no matter who they are, because any other way just doesnít work.

    Enforcement should be treated like a glass keeping the water in. One crack, no matter how small, and it becomes pointless. The agency tasked to do this needs to start fining, confiscating, impounding and basically just enforcing the laws we already have rather than wasting time and money creating stupid new ones. Like 2-day-a-week coding.

    In fact, if you can restore discipline, Iím willing to bet that you wouldnít even need one day a week coding. Think about it. It is no different to packing a suit case. You can always get more in when you have things neatly folded than just tossed in randomly.
    Business ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

    And you only need to get really tough in the beginning before the message sinks in. Like putting counterflow spikes on roads like airport road and the east and west service roads along the SLEX and monitor them by CCTV. If they spot someone breaking the law, an officer in the command center can activate the counterflow spikes remotely, which are perfectly harmless if youíre traveling in the right direction, but will blow all four tires if you arenít. Brilliant, right? Just try and imagine it for a moment. There is nothing showing in the cinemas right now that comes remotely close to watching an arrogant idiot deal with four blown tires because he thought his time was more valuable than all those who waited patiently in line.

    Best thing about it is you remove that human contact where a cop is too scared to apprehend a flashy car because it may be a powerful person inside and basically turn non-contact traffic enforcement into a contact sport. You only need to do this once or twice and I guarantee you they will never do it again. Ever.

    With that done, we need to rehabilitate the entire system of acquiring a driverís license with much, much, much stricter testing and tougher penalties for violations, doubling it again for professional drivers precisely because they make a living from it. Blocking an intersection, counter-flowing and the illegal unloading of passengers, for example, should carry a ten thousand peso fineófor the passenger as well as the public utility driver in the case of the last one.

    Once the cars start toeing the line and the buses are state-run, we should give more priority to public transport. I donít think anyone would begrudge the buses having their own dedicated lanes if they only stuck to them and were deployed in realistic numbers, which they have no reason not to be if they are state-run. If the inevitable happens and the buses start moving a lot faster than cars, it wonít take long for many to decide to use the buses and leave their cars at home.

    And lastly, clear the sidewalks, create bigger ones, as well as dedicated bike lanes, and start making cities more pedestrian- and bike-friendly.

    There are plenty more solutions, of course, but these are cornerstones. Put these pillars in place and the rest become just tweaks. Now I can already hear the same old chorus of trolls humming their favorite tune of it being easier said than done. That may be true; but that is only because we keep voting in the same old people. Change starts there. Because there is no point having a great idea if after everything is said and done, a lot more is said than done.
    source: How do you solve a problem like Manila? (part II) | Motoring, Business Features, The Philippine Star |

  2. Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Very nice article. Thanks!

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J DEAKIN - How do you solve a problem like Manila? (PART2)