The Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) has asked the riding public for more patience and understanding amid the heavy traffic happening in the city since the start of the Fiesta Señor celebrations last Friday.
Motorists are also encouraged to avoid the downtown area at this time which is one of the traffic hotspots of the city at this time of the year.
CCTO Chief Francisco Ouano made this appeal as he cited the closed streets surrounding the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño as the reason for the heavier than usual traffic which had been experienced by commuters and motorists since last week.
“Nakamugna g’yud siya og trapiko especially sa mga tapad nga lugar (of Basilica) ni-katay katay na ang trapiko sa siyudad (It created heavy traffic especially to neighboring streets surrounding the Basilica. It had a domino effect to other parts of the city),” he said.
The areas that had been observed to have experienced heavy traffic were N. Bacalso Ave., S. Osmeña Street, Osmeña Boulevard, South Road Property (SRP), Escario Street, Salinas Drive, down to the Banilad-Talamban road.
He also advised motorists to avoid the downtown area because of the heavy traffic there.
He said if they would want to attend the Novena Mass in the Basilica then the motorists should park their vehicles properly so that they could not cause traffic in the area.
Helvi Tagacanao, 21, a second year student of a university in downtown Cebu City, has complained about the traffic in the area especially with the Fiesta Señor celebrations and the Sinulog just around the corner.
Tagacanao, who rides a jeepney from Barangay Cansojong in Talisay City to Barangay Basak in Mambaling and then from there to Magallanes Street in downtown Cebu City area everyday.
But since Monday, Tagacanao said the 1 hour travel time from home to school would now take nearly two hours.
Aside from the Sinulog activities, Tagacanao also cited the ongoing construction of the underpass project along N. Bacalso Avenue as among the causes of traffic in the area.
Meanwhile, Ouano of the CCTO also cited illegal parking in the downtown area as another reason for the traffic there.
He appealed to motorists to park their cars properly and not just park them anywhere so as not to cause traffic in the area.
He also said that they had been clamping cars that were illegally parked in the city.
“Wala ta nagpabaya sa atong clamping. Naay mga nagbagulbul sa atong office pero sa atong giingon dili sila dapat magapatakag park sa ilang sakyanan (We had not been remiss in our duties with regard to clamping illegally parked vehicles. Some vehicle owners have complained about this in CCTO, but these vehicle owners should not have just parked their vehicles anywhere),” he said.
He said that starting January 8, the 278 CCTO traffic enforcers were not allowed to take a leave of absence.
They would be deployed in three shifts to man the city’s traffic 24 hours a day for the Sinulog Festival until January 21.