Planning key to success of mass transport system

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva July 05,2017 - 11:07 PM

The projected Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system for Cebu City
Source DOTC

FOR Cebu Business Club president Gordon Alan Joseph, it is not a matter of whether one mass transport system for Cebu City is better than another, but rather a question of how it is planned.

Joseph made this comment amid the ongoing debate on whether the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system should be scrapped in favor of a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system.

“As a concept, the BRT is good, but as designed, will it work for Cebu? Engineer Santiago’s concerns should be addressed,” Joseph told Cebu Daily News.

Joseph was referring to the points made by Engineer Rene Santiago, a freelance consultant for transportation, who had argued that the BRT system is not fit for Cebu City because of its narrow roads.

This is now the argument being used by Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino to back his contention that the BRT should be scrapped.

Dino proposes a LRT system, a P50-billion north-to-south railway system covering 74 kilometers that is expected to break ground next year.

The proposed LRT system will run from Carcar City to Danao City, and from Mandaue City to Lapu-Lapu City to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

The BRT, on other hand, is a P10-billion project composed of 11 kilometers of segregated busways from Bulacao in southern Cebu City to Ayala Mall, along N. Bacalso Avenue, Osmeña  Boulevard, and N. Escario Street, as well as six kilometers of bus priority lanes at junctions that will allow buses to reach Talamban along Gov. M. Cuenco Avenue.

“A properly designed BRT will work. A poorly designed BRT will fail and aggravate instead of alleviate traffic,” he said.

“If the plan is to improve mobility by moving people quickly through the center and to the peripherals of Mega Cebu to disperse development, then the LRT is superior to BRT,” he pointed out.

Joseph said that in successful implementations of the system around the world, there are four to six lanes available in addition to dedicated BRT lanes.

“We have very few roads, if any, of this size in Cebu City, unless we expropriate land and widen roads where BRT will pass,” he said.
However, Joseph said both the BRT and LRT systems can co-exist.

He added that plans or designs and alignments need to be coordinated, instead of stand-alone projects.

But if both projects are going to have the same route alignment, then the LRT, because of its passenger capacity and speed, will make the BRT unnecessary.

Joseph’s comments were similar to those of former Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who said the BRT project only needs refinement, configuration or redesigning but not an outright cancellation.

Rama added that the proponents should instead take a second look at the project to decide which areas they can work out for improvement.

CDN sought the comment of the National Economic and Development Authority in Central Visayas (NEDA-7), but Regional Director Efren Carreon declined to give a statement.

Carreon explained that since the project is already under the NEDA central office, he cannot categorically determine the implications if the BRT project does get canceled and whether it is even possible.

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TAGS: key, Mass, planning, success, system, transport

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