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DPWH's Villar bares plan to set up dedicated bike lanes on EDSA

Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar on Sunday bared his department's plan to put up a dedicated bike lane on EDSA as biking becomes an alternative mode of transportation under the "new normal" in post-COVID-19 era.

In a Dobol B sa News TV interview, Villar said they are currently in the planning stage to install bike lanes on EDSA as well as other major thoroughfares in Metro Manila.

"Meron nang bike lanes. Pero sa EDSA, nasa planning stage. Nakikipag-coordinate kami sa DOTr (Department of Transportation). Ang plano nila, ilalagay nila yung mga dedicated bus lanes sa center line ng EDSA. At magkakaroon din ng isang lane na naka-allocate para sa mga bisikleta," he said.

"Meron ding bike lane na walang harang pero may guhit sa kalsada. Depende, kung meron talagang makukuhang space para sa bike lane, kukuha kami. Pero kung hindi, marami pa kaming options. Pwedeng lagyan ng mga markings para at least ma-identify yung bike lane sa isang kalsada," he added.

According to Villar, studies by the Department of Transportation show that the capacity of EDSA to accommodate vehicles will increase if there are dedicated bus and bike lanes.

He said they are finalizing their plans on whether to put barriers or fences separating the dedicated bike lanes and the bus lanes.

"Pina-finalize namin. Pero malamang magkakaroon din ng barriers tapos maraming additional stations. And then pinag-uusapan namin kung paano yung pagtawid ng EDSA pagbaba ng mga pasahero," he said.

Aside from bike lanes, the Department of Public Works and Highways are also planning to install elevated walkways along EDSA, Villar said.

"Actually nagkaroon din kami ng maraming mga ideas at plano kagaya ng elevated pedestrian lane pati elevated bike lane. Kaya siguro depende sa area kung saan ilalagay," he said.

"May option din kami na upgrade yung pedestrian. Pero sa ibang areas, pwede rin yung elevated kapag hindi talaga feasible yung upgrade," he added.

Villar said they are still looking for funding for these planned projects under the 2020 General Appropriations, but these can definitely be funded under next year's budget.

"Tignan namin kung may budget this year. Pero definitely by next year kaya naming budgetan yung plano. Sa ngayon this year, maghahanap muna kami. Pag-uusapan muna namin paano popondohan pero may posibilidad din na masimulan this year," he added.

The Department of Transportation earlier announced that there will be two phases to be executed in the resumption of public transportation in Metro Manila as it transitions into general community quarantine on Monday.

Under Phase 1, covering June 1 to 21, trains and bus augmentation, taxi cabs, TNVS (transport network vehicle services), shuttle services, point-to-point buses, and bicycles will be allowed to operate with a limited passenger capacity.

Tricycles will also be allowed, subject to the prior approval of the concerned local government units.

Provincial buses will be barred from entering Metro Manila during the June 1 to 21 period.

In Phase 2, covering June 22 to 30, public utility buses, modern PUVs or jeepneys, and UV Express will be allowed to operate, also with limited passenger capacity.

Transport modes allowed under Phase 2 will operate alongside those allowed during Phase 1, the DOTr said. —LBG, GMA News