Center island trees to go

By: Michelle Joy L. Padayhag, Nestle L. Semilla August 17,2015 - 01:50 AM
The fire trees along Pope John Paul II Avenue will be earthballed and moved to either sidewalks or other center islands with few trees sometime soon. (CDN PHOTO/ TONEE DESPOJO)

The fire trees along Pope John Paul II Avenue will be earthballed and moved to either sidewalks or other center islands with few trees sometime soon. (CDN PHOTO/ TONEE DESPOJO)

DENR permit still needed to earthball, transfer 11 trees

The Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) said 11 of the 34 trees on the center island along Pope John Paul II Avenue will be earthballed and transferred to other areas.

CCTO executive director Rey Gealon said they made it clear to those opposing the removal of the trees that these will be replanted in center islands or sidewalks with fewer trees.

He said the earthballing will pave for the removal of the center island along Pope John Paul II, from the corner of Archbishop Reyes Ave. until the corner of Cardinal Rosales St., ahead of the International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) in January next year.

“We have decided to transfer the 11 trees that will be affected by the removal of the center island to either the gaps between trees in the other unaffected center island or the sidewalk. The trees will be earthballed and transferred, not cut,” he said.

Lobbied

The removal of a portion of the center island will open up the entrance of the pavilion being constructed at the Pope John XIII Seminary compound in barangay Mabolo, Cebu City for the IEC, which will be attended by 15,000 delegates from around the world.

Gealon said earthballing of the 11 trees will be spearheaded by the Parks and Playgrounds Commission (PPC) in coordination with the Office of the Building Official (OBO) and the Prevention, Restoration, Order, Beautification and Enhancement (PROBE) team.

The Movement for Livable Cebu (MLC), which lobbied for the retention of the trees, didn’t oppose the earthballing after being assured that the trees will be transferred, Gealon added.

Eddie Llamedo, information officer of the regional Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-7), said their office has not yet received any application for permits to earthball the 11 trees.

“We will, of course, secure permits before APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation). We hope so (that this will be done),” Gealon said.

Survival rates

MLC convenor Marc Canton confirmed that they received word about the earthballing and replanting of the trees, including fire trees that were planted years ago.

“Those trees will be repositioned along the gaps in the sidewalks and islands.  Most of them are fire trees which have high survival rates,” Canton said.

The MLC and other civil society groups like the Road Heroes and Road Man Volunteers all called for non-infrastructure remedies to ease the expected traffic congestion to be caused by the forthcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings starting Aug. 22.

Canton said strict enforcement of traffic laws and on-site remote control of signal lights can be effective in easing the congestion.

MLC member Rudy Alix said they also suggested other non-infrastructure solutions like the removal or adjustment of fences in 20 to 30 meters at the Pope John XXIII Seminary compound.

A lot of work

The group also proposed that road barricades be set up at the Petronas gas station before the flyover near the TESDA office.

“This will help guide the vehicles properly within the little islands below the flyover,” Alix said.

The proposed medium-term solutions include flared intersections or road widening near the flyover beside TESDA and in barangays Mabolo and Kasambagan.

Alix also said the triangular island of the JY Square should be turned into a roundabout to help control traffic.

The MLC will meet with Rama to present these proposals to ease traffic congestion for the APEC and IEC events.

Gealon said  road flaring cannot be done yet.

“It needs a lot of work. There is already the design. One thing is for sure, it will be before IEC next year,” the CCTO chief said.

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TAGS: APEC, Cebu City, DENR, Pope John Paul II Avenue, traffic, trees

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