DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 6 Dec) – More than a year after the national government inaugurated the P145-million Metro Davao Bike Lane Network, an environmental advocate lamented that no new bicycle lanes have been delineated along the major thoroughfares in the city.
Lemuel Lloyd Manalo, an environment planner who is program coordinator for Interfacing Development Interventions for Sustainability (IDIS), Inc., said the city needs more bicycle lane networks that connect commercial and residential districts as the city experiences worsening traffic congestion during peak hours after the government eased community quarantine protocols.
He hopes the existing bicycle lanes from Matina to Toril would be extended to areas such as Catalunan Pequeno, Catalunan Grande, Tugbok, Mintal, Calinan, and even to Buhangin, Cabantian, and Tigatto.
“To boost more bicycle users, the city also needs a bike circuit featuring scenic views of the city’s landscapes. The coastal road and Davao River esplanade, Shrine Hills, Barangay Langub are potential assets,” he said.
Manalo said that the city needs to improve on traffic enforcement and regulation, particularly in clearing the roads of obstacles, particularly the illegally parked vehicles.
He said the ongoing road repairs and the behavior of jeepney drivers in loading and unloading their passengers wherever they please are among the struggles of the Dabawenyo cyclists.
“Bicycle mobility infrastructure has improved after the project but still needs more improvement on traffic enforcement and regulation,” he said.
Manalo added that he observed a lot of bollards damaged by vehicles and motorists.
He said motorcycles occupy bike lanes during rush hours.
In July last year, the 54.74-kilometer network of bicycle lanes was inaugurated to provide a safer road for cyclists in Davao City amid the pandemic. 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.
Manalo said there is a need to promote the bike community amid the worsening traffic woes.
“The city needs more bike commuters to work, do errands, go to school, etc. The more bike commuters, the fewer vehicles on the road causing traffic,” he said.
He added that the culture of bike commuting went down compared to the time when the coronavirus disease was at its peak.
“Cycling as a sport and recreation continued even post-pandemic. Basically, these are weekend riders,” Manalo said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)