IEC traffic dry run still ‘manageable’, say execs
Mayor revives call to remove trees in center island requirements yet
Traffic remained manageable during the second day of a traffic dry run for January’s 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) yesterday, Cebu City officials said.
“We experienced heavy traffic on the roads around the Pavilion but it will just be gone when the traffic light turns go,” said Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) operations chief Joy Tumulak.
From 6:30 a.m. to to 9:30 a.m., Pope John Paul II Avenue in front of seminaries in Mabolo was closed to private vehicles.
Only public transport— jeepneys and taxis — were allowed to enter.
The scheme aims to test traffic flow when 15,000 delegates of the IEC will be brought by bus or public transportation to the new Pavilion for the religious conference from January 21 to 26. (Read :‘We are ready for IEC’ )
It was a reverse of the traffic rerouting for September’s Asia-Pacific Economic Forum (APEC) meetings where only private vehicles were allowed to use the avenue .
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama is following up his controversial request for a permit to remove some trees in the center island and have them earthballed prior to replanting them elsewhere to improve traffic flow.
“I don’t know what’s happening with them. The request has already been submitted. They should take the initiative,” he said.
Several trees have been marked “x” on the trunks, which worries pro-environment groups which said the loss of trees that occupy less than one lane would not improve traffic, but would be a permanent loss of shade and greenery in one of the few remaining tree-lined roads of Cebu City.
DENR regional spokesman Eddie Llamedo said the office is still waiting for compliance of three requirements — a barangay certification interposing no objection to the plan, a public hearing and an endorsement from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Rama is eyeing the strip from the intersection of the Ayala access road to the TESDA flyover.
In yesterday’s traffic dry run, traffic congestion was observed on both ends of the road along the intersection of Pope John Paul II and the Ayala access road (corner Cardinal Rosales Ave.), Cardinal Rosales corner Mindanao Ave., Mindanao corner Archbishop Reyes Ave., and Archbishop Reyes corner Pope John Paul II.
Tumulak said CCTO needs to designate taxi and jeepney drop off points.
The Cebu Archdiocese and CCTO earlier issued vehicle passes to 200 private vehicles to enter the closed portion.
Those issued passes were mostly residents along the road.
Related stories: Traffic manageable during IEC dry run
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