DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 20 July) – The government inaugurated on Tuesday the 54.74-kilometer network of bicycle lanes intended to provide a safer road for cyclists in Davao City amid the pandemic.
During the virtual inauguration of the P145-million Metro Davao Bike Lane Network via Zoom, Steve Pastor, assistant secretary for road transport and infrastructure at the Department of Transportation, said the agency shifted its focus on providing safer road infrastructures for cyclists when the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic hit the country last year.
He said the agency is putting safety of Filipino commuters at the center of the “transportation landscape by providing protected bike lanes in cities creating safe spaces for vulnerable road users, our cyclists and pedestrians.”
“We were challenged to rethink and reform our transportation system that is adaptive to the new normal and fitting to the mobility needs of the public amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pastor said.
Transportation Secretary Art Tugade added that cyclists need not ply the roads in fear with protected bicycle lanes in place. He said the lanes boast of features like white and green pavement markings, signage, bollards, bike symbols and concrete delineators, solar studs and bike racks.
“A nation that promotes cycling is an example of a nation’s progress. It may be a modest type of transport but it has been long recognized as a sustainable mode of transportation,” he pointed out.
Tugade urged the road users to observe courtesy and respect to keep themselves safe while on the streets.
The project was funded through Republic Act 11494, also known as the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act of 2020.
Completed last June 30, the bicycle lane network is a convergence project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
According to data released by DPWH-Davao, the bicycle lane network was placed along Davao-Cotabato Road, ABS-CBN Quimpo Boulevard Diversion Road, Sandawa Road, Roxas Avenue, Quezon Avenue, Elpidio Quirino Avenue, E. Jacinto Extension Street, Dr. A. Gahol Street, Mabini Street, F. Torres Street, Loyola Street, Porras Street, Iñigo Street, and Nicasio Street.
Mayor Sara Duterte said bicycles are considered an efficient mode of transport, with beneficial effects on “health and fitness” and contribute to the improvement of the city by helping decongest traffic and reduce carbon emission. She said providing Dabawenyos with bicycle lanes could help them maximize “usage of their bicycles whether as a mode of transportation for work or business or as means of exercise and leisure activities.”
“The promotion of active transportation such as biking is a key mechanism in the fulfilment of our sustainability and renewability goals…. I hope that we may continue to maintain our commitment in creating more sustainable measures and strategies to further the growth of our city throughout the Philippines,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)