Move will ease traffic in Pope John Paul II Avenue in time for APEC meet
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is proposing to remove the center island along Pope John Paul II Avenue (formerly known as J. Luna Ave.) in time for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings starting next month.
Rama said it’s also important to pursue the proposal to push back the Capitol-owned Ciudad property from the Banilad-Talamban corridor.
Instead of center islands on Pope John Paul II Avenue, Rama said removable barriers should be placed along the center of the road.
He said the Department of Public Works and Highways should be involved in the removal of center islands.
Rama will fly to Manila today to meet with officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“That would bring me to deliver the message of collaboration, coordination and cooperation rather than stressing hierarchy, and we’re talking about APEC preparations and then improving traffic,” he told reporters yesterday.
He said the regional office of DENR 7 should be given “blanket authority” in terms of approving permits related to possible cutting or earth-balling of trees that may be affected in the improvements that need to be made in relation to the APEC meetings in Cebu.
Among the meeting venues for the APEC meetings are Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort and Spa, Waterfront Hotel and Casino, Radisson Blu and Marco Polo Plaza.
John Paul II Ave. is a vital link between Marco Polo and Radisson Blu.
In the BanTal corridor, Rama said other private property owners along the road have already signified their willingness to also set back their properties in order to give a wider space for the road.
“That would mean bringing the regional director to be provided with blanket authority so that it will not be awaiting for national (office to decide on the project) and then we’re talking about a national event being done in a local scene, and we have a timeframe that is August 24. There are areas where we need to be bold, quick and speedy so that we will remove areas that are considered as chokepoints,” Rama said.
Rama said removing the center island along John Paul II Ave. will also be beneficial for the coming International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in Cebu next year, wherein around 50,000 people are expected to go to the IEC pavilion inside the Pope John Paul XXIII Seminary.
Meanwhile, Dr. Librado Macaraya, chairman of the Cebu City Playgrounds Commission (CCPC), said the rehabilitation of Fuente Osmeña will be 80 percent done before August. The project is part of the preparations for the APEC meetings, to be held here until October.
Macaraya said they have asked the private sector to help fund the rehabilitation and beautification campaign in the city.