MMDA To Launch ‘Traffic Watch’

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said yesterday that it will launch a project to involve local communities, particularly their residents, in helping come up with solutions to traffic woes in their respective areas.

Dubbed ''Metro Traffic Watch Program,'' MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said that they will enlist the help of barangays, homeowners associations, traffic experts and academicians, non-government organizations, and civic organizations to help in ensuring the smooth flow of traffic in secondary roads and inner streets of Metro Manila.

''Traffic management should not be the sole job of the government. It is everybody's responsibility. Mobilizing city residents who are familiar with the terrain of their respective localities in such meaningful endeavor will be of great help to the MMDA,'' Tolentino said.

The community-based system, Metro Traffic Watch Program, will train and deputize Community Traffic Aides (CTAs) to help improve traffic management. Community Traffic Aides will undergo training on traffic enforcement and be acquainted with traffic rules and regulations at the MMDA's Traffic Academy in Sta. Mesa, Manila. The MMDA chief said he will meet this week first with officials and residents in Katipunan, Quezon City where several higher education institutions (HEI) such as Ateneo De Manila University, Mirriam College and the University of the Philippines-Diliman are located to discuss traffic problems in the area.

In 2005, the MMDA named Katipunan as one of Metro Manila's 14 dangerous traffic spots due to the heavy vehicular traffic and the numerous accidents that took place in the area.

''It is very important that we engaged them so that they will know that we are not only imposing solutions from afar, and since they lived in those communities, they are more knowledgeable of the traffic problems compared to motorists who just passed by their area,'' Tolentino said.

Tolentino said the program is more or less patterned after the MMDA's Flood Control Bayanihan Zone Alliance (FCBZA), an organization of community leaders, barangay officials, volunteers, and residents tasked to be the first responders in the event of flooding and other natural disasters in their community.

''This is like a neighborhood watch- residents watching their backyards and addressing traffic concerns as it happen,'' the MMDA chief said, stressing the importance of public involvement in managing traffic and coming up with temporary and permanent solutions to congestion.

In close coordination with village leaders, the MMDA will also work out a scheme to utilize private subdivision roads for a certain period of time, and when the need arises, such as during typhoons, Tolentino added.

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