Editorial: Progress and traffic

PROPERTY industry experts see more of the curve in 2020. Leaders in the run include Metro Cebu, which holds around 40 percent of the over P300 billion worth of properties for sale nationwide this year.

Real estate broker Anthony Gerard Leuterio, in Johanna Bajenteng’s SunStar report, see a continuing rise in integrated business districts in the metro that houses residences, retail and office.

“With the kind of lifestyle we embrace, plus the problem on traffic, developers will be more keen on developing integrated projects,” Leuterio said. Integrated districts are meant to confine sectors of the populace in one area, thus reducing mobility and traffic.

Mactan, said Leuterio, will be a frontrunner in terms of attracting trade and tourism, although Colliers International Philippines’ Cebu Property Outlook report expects a delivery of 5,460 condominium units in the next two years, the bulk of which will be in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue.

Colliers also sees an average of 60,000 square meters of new retail space in the next two years. The business process outsourcing industry is likewise seen to expand further in Cebu.

While we are all agog about these prospects, there is also the scary twin looming behind unprecedented growth. As if we haven’t seen the worst of vehicular traffic yet in this part of the planet, we’ll be seeing a surge of more cars and commuters spilling out of these districts all at the same time in peak hours.

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes reminds yet again the metro’s executives to get their acts together.

“One of our aims and ambitions that we can discuss with the neighboring LGUs (local government units) like Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu City and as far as Talisay City is to come up with a common stand regarding mass transportation,” he said.

The Cebu City Government has set aside P500 million for a new system that will replace the 30-year-old Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System, currently rendered inefficient with many of its sectors bogged down beyond repair. Public bidding will be in February yet. Once in place, the system’s artificial intelligence will increase vehicular traffic efficiency by 30 percent.

The P16 billion Bus Rapid Transit project will start in the first quarter this year. It will be a 39.88 kilometer long road, the spine of which is a monorail system that extends to Talisay City.

Mandaue City intends to ban tricycles in major thoroughfares after it had provided alternative livelihood to drivers. Talisay City, perennially clogged with tricycles and trisikad, must follow suit.

Lapu-Lapu City intends to open new roads, said Mayor Junard Chan, eyeing Pakpakan Road in Barangay Basak, traversing Collinwood Subdivision; Barangay Suba-basbas to Barangay Marigondon; and another road connecting Sitio Sudtungan in Barangay Basak to Sitio Timpolok in Barangay Babag.

In the long haul, the mayor plans to reclaim the shores of Barangays Punta Engaño, Mactan and Calawisan, where he intends to build a coastal highway. He also dreams of a skyway rising from the foot of the supposed third Mactan-Cebu bridge to Barangay Basak and to the airport.

As always, private-sector led development outruns government projects, which means it will be a long time coming before government can ably address the surge in the volume of traffic expected in the months to come.

We hope the solutions can be had the quickest way possible.