With its never-ending quest to find an effective way to decongest EDSA, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is now proposing to make existing lanes on Metro Manila’s main arterial road narrower, which could allow for the addition of more lanes.
Currently, EDSA has five lanes on both sides of the road, with each lane measuring 3.4 meters wide. MMDA is proposing to ‘trim down’ the width of each lane to 2.8 meters. According to the MMDA’s new EDSA Traffic Manager Bong Nebrija, the proposal, dubbed as ‘Road Diet,’ would increase the acceptable volume of a limited road network, and add at least 6,000 more vehicles to the 25-kilometer highway’s 250,000 vehicle capacity.
MMDA Spokeswoman Celine Pialago explained the viability of the proposal, saying that it will not require any road re-construction to implement, and will only need the re-adjustment of the road markers.
Pialago also cited a research conducted by the World Resources Institute (WRI) to back up the proposal. Based on the study, cities that have lanes 2.8 meters in width–such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Tokyo, and Toronto–enjoy fewer crash fatalities at 1.3-3.2 fatality rate per 100,000 residents, compared to cities that make use of wider lanes, which have 6.1–11.8 fatality rate per 100,000 residents.
However, groups such as the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), expressed some concerns. AAP President Augusto Lagman stressed that our lanes are already narrow as they are when compared to other countries which could potentially lead to an increase in road mishaps.
Pialago countered that according to the WRI study, wider lanes tend to promote faster speeds, which also increases the potential for accidents. Narrower lanes are actually safer as they reduce the risk of reckless maneuvering and sideswiping, the study suggests.
Nevertheless, the MMDA is still looking at the specifics of how the ‘road diet’ scheme can be properly implemented, as EDSA has only three lanes at certain points. The agency is also checking the availability of funding for the project in the 2019 national budget.
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