It”s enforcement, stupid

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    MAYOR EDGARDO Pamintuan has done one swell of a job widening MacArthur Highway and putting up that roundabout at the entry to Clark – serendipitously timed for the APEC senior ministers meeting at the Freeport last February, and thus with readily available funds from the DPWH as well as the Clark Development Corp. and sense of urgency impacted upon the constructors.

    To EdPam’s sole credit though is the enforcement of regulations to make sure the highway serves the very reason for its widening – ease traffic flow. Not increase economic activity upon it – as was done in Apalit – by locating thereat vulcanizing shops, tricycle terminals, furniture showrooms, or expanding the parking spaces fronting commercial buildings – all resulting to contraction of vehicular traffic space. Effecting an absolute negation of the purpose for which the road was expanded.

     In Angeles City, parallel parking was imposed along the highway. Violators are penalized. Vehicles impounded. No pakiusap entertained.

    The rotunda at Marisol was rid of the virtual jeepney terminal sited at the entry to the subdivision, easing the flow of traffic tremendously.

    What was started in front of the Angeles University Foundation, ridiculed as “EYA’s folly” – the iron fence at the median of the highway – to prevent jaywalking and motorists from turning anywhere at will, has been replicated right at the northern tip of Abacan Bridge, in front of Robinsons up to the entry to Sta. Maria church in Balibago. To very good results. It helps though that pedestrian overpasses are available near AUF and the Systems Plus College.

    Road lighting is a continuing activity of the Pamintuan administration. Light posts are now being put up at the Circumferential Road, even as the widening of the road is yet to be fully completed.

     Road discipline – primarily among jeepney drivers – has become a 24/7 imposition. Night driving now less risky with vehicles with no headlights routinely apprehended.

    At the core of the city’s traffic nexus is the Angeles City Traffic Management Board composed of esteemed locals in charge of studies and policies for the continuing improvement of traffic.

    Add to that a strong feedback mechanism and quick response to road problems – EdPam’s cellphone and facebook account are forever open, the Angeles City Traffic Enforcement and Management Office enforcers in high profile deployment and actively engaged in their assigned duties.

    At last Friday’s regular breakfast with media, EdPam disclosed that the city has collected over P1 million in fines for traffic violations.

    “I am not happy. It shows that drivers have not been instilled with road discipline yet,” Hizzoner said, but still hoping for the day when his city will have zero fines and find no need for any traffic enforcer.

    Still and all, the traffic situation in Angeles City has improved – awesomely – in orderliness, in ease, to the general satisfaction of commuters and motorists.

    Discordant chord

    LAVISH THAT abutted on the slavish was our laudation of Mayor Pamintuan in that piece titled What AC is, CSF is not that appeared here in May 2015.

    Of late, I sing a totally different tune, a discordant one, where the city traffic situation is concerned. Never a day passes without me posting photos of traffic violations in my FB account. Hoping, against the seeming impossibility, that somehow city hall would find the traffic mess deserving some definitive action. Notwithstanding the outstanding stupidity of some councilors in pooh-poohing traffic as “not a principal problem” in the city not too long ago.

    Yesterday, my email yielded the press release EdPam urges Angeleños to obey traffic rules.

    “The reports coming from the Public Transport and Regulatory Office (PTRO) and Angeles City Traffic Development Offi ce (ACTDO) regarding the number of apprehensions on traffic violations are quite alarming because it shows that a great number of motorists, both public and private, are either ignorant of traffic laws or they are just indifferent in following them,” said Mayor Pamintuan.

    The PR went on to list down, in order of most number of apprehensions, the violations as road obstruction, truck ban, driving without helmet, none/invalid driver’s license, wearing of slippers (among drivers of motorcycles and PUJ’s), No Mayor’s Permit, anti-modified muffl er, colorum vehicles, illegal terminal – totaling to 21,904.

    “In summary, a total of P 5.7 million worth of apprehension was recorded for 2016.”

    Of course, Pamintuan can never be happy about it. The fines showing the traffic situation even worsened since his May 2015 pronouncement. He correctly pointed to a principal root of the problem: ignorance of and/ or indifference to traffic laws on the part of motorists. Pedestrians too, if this motorist may add.

    Inexcusable both, ignorance and indifference need to be exacted the full force of the law.

    Urging motorists to obey traffic rules is long past the hour, Mr. Mayor. The times call for impacting dura lex – stringent measures, heavier penalties – to really make errant motorists pay dearly for their infractions.

     The P5.7 million the city amassed from violations is nothing to crow about, given the number of apprehensions – 21,904. That makes no more than an average of a measly fine of P250 per case.

    Yes, Councilor Amos Rivera, the need to amend the Traffic Code of Angeles City is most urgent. But aside from expanded no-parking and two-away zones and pay-parking for inner barangay roads, the stiffest fines for traffic violations take first order for consideration.

    Yes, world-class Mayor, the high-impact infra build-build-build plans of DPWH around the city will undoubtedly do wonders in easing vehicular traffic.

    Still, and all, it’s enforcement.

     

     

     

     

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