CEBU City’s proposed Bus Rapid System (BRT) jives with the goal of the Road Revolution for road reforms to ensure “fair sharing of public space.”
“A bus is a form of collective transportation system. That is the same thing we are advocating,” environment lawyer Antonio Oposa Jr. told Cebu Daily News.
Oposa said the BRT, which is the brainchild of Rep. Tomas Osmeña during his term as Cebu City mayor, would fit in well with the vision of convenors of the Road Revolution, which staged road experiments closing Osmeña Boulevard to car traffic on June 12 and three downtown roads on Sept. 24 to give pedestrians the experience of more space on public streets.
“I look forward to meeting him (Osmeña) one day to explain the idea. He will see how this will merge with his suggestion of the Bus Rapid Transit,” said Oposa, one of the convenors.
The movement has filed a petition with the City Council to reform the road system by seeking the allocation of 30 percent of the road to pedestrians, 30 percent to bike riders, 30 percent to collective transportation and 10 percent to road gardens.
On Oct. 23, convenors plan to meet with transport and business sector in Cebu City for “better understanding” of their advocacy and to explain the benefits to them, before staging a third Road Revolution activity in Osmeña Boulevard in November.
The plan calls for closing half of Osmeña Boulevard for bikers and pedestrians while the other half will have public motor vehicles making two-way trips in single file for an orderly flow.
Oposa said allowing more space for pedestrians would actually bring more customers for business establishments along the road.
They will also appeal to transport groups to keep smoke belchers from using Osmeña Boulevard in November.
Oposa is hoping Cebu City would be the pioneer in the country for advocating “sharing of public space” in favor of more pedestrian and bike lanes, and a non-polluting mass transit system.
Last Saturday, Part 2 of Road Revolution saw Colon Street and two other downtown streets closed for the day.
The activity triggered several complaints from merchants, jeepney drivers and commuters who were caught by surprise by the rerouting, which was adopted on short notice. Jeepney drivers and store owners complained about a drop in earnings and fewer customers.
The Sept. 24 road closures were applied for by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. for its “Heritage Walk” program to expose about 2,000 youths to the monuments, museums and historical sites in the old Parian district.
Road Revolution advocates, whose earlier application was turned down by Citom, decided a few days before the Sept. 24 event to join the Heritage Walk. But the public backlash focused on the more visible Road Revolution activity.
Some streets near the area of the Road Revolution were also simultaneously closed like streets of T. Padilla where their fiesta was celebrated and the South Road Property (SRP) where the “Alay Lakad” was organized by Cebu city.
Oposa admitted that better preparation and a longer time to plan was needed so that the riding public would not be caught by surprise by route changes.
“We will take them into account when we plan the next phase. Those who want to walk or ride a bike must be given the space to do it,” Oposa said. /Reporter Candeze R. Mongaya