Commentaries

The Disappearing Sidewalks of Antipolo

Last year, I posted on my blog about the removal of virtually all of the sidewalks in the main artery of San Mateo, Rizal. The said sidewalks were sacrificed to give way to the road widening project, to cope with the increased traffic following the opening of the SM mall in the city.

I might had not yet noticed before, but it’s so very unfortunate that even along Marcos Highway starting from Masinag going eastward, the sidewalks had already been removed. The once wide sidewalks had been demolished, and even the portruding part of some walls, if they ever had, were also destroyed as well. The bicycle lanes that started from the LRT Santolan station and ended at the Sumulong intersection, however, remained intact, aside from being used by pasaway motorists as parking lots.

Pedestrians waiting for a ride at the main road.
A number of buildings partially destroyed to give way for the road widening.

So how about the pedestrians? Lacking any sidewalks, they are forced to use the very same lane that is being used by motor vehicles. And we’re talking about a main highway here. Main highway which trucks frequently use. And pedestrians have to risk their lives being ran over by pasaway motorists.

Uncomfortably deep gutter.

Aside from the lack of sidewalks, the gutters – the spacing between the main road and the sidewalk – is so uncomfortably deep. This can potentially cause unwanted accidents among cyclists and motorcycle riders.

It has been lamented that in urban planning, pedestrian convenience is the very last thing to consider. This is very contrast to the progressive cities abroad, where sidewalks at least two meters wide are widely common, especially in main roads. In some parts of EDSA, sidewalks are so small people had to squeeze themselves to pass through and there were already obstructions such as utility posts and MRT stairways along the way. Truly, cars are kings here.

 

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