BAGUIO CITY — The city, being one of the top favorite destinations in the country not only during peak tourism season but even as a weekend destination, requires that the local government exert more effort to address the traffic situation.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan, in a recorded interview aired over a community television channel, on Thursday said the city government is awaiting the city council’s approval for its increased budget from PHP1.779 billion to PHP2.06 billion for 2018, which will be highly utilized to put in place infrastructures that will address the worsening traffic situation.
He said that the eight-storey multi-level parking building at the city-owned lot beside Justice Hall has been allocated with a PHP210-million budget and was identified as a priority project for 2018, to help reduce overcrowding of motor vehicles.
Earlier, Councilor Mylene Yaranon, chairman of the committee on infrastructure at the city council, proposed an ordinance mandating the construction of the multi-level parking building in the vacant lot near the fire department.
Domogan explained that one of the identified solutions to address the insufficient parking areas within the central business district area is the construction of multi-level parking structures in suitable areas around the city.
The mayor added that improvement of barangay roads to be used as alternative routes in order to address congestion on main roads is also among the priority infrastructure projects for the coming year.
He mentioned of the Balsigan barangay road that connects Marcos Highway to the Camp 8 portion of Kennon Road as among those on top of the list.
He said that with barangay roads being utilized, the commuters need not proceed to the central business district when going to other villages, which will help declog the traffic at the central business area.
However, with some of the barangay roads still to be improved, their utilization is lean, as some of the vehicle owners have difficulty traversing the highly inclined roads aside from their bad condition.
He pointed out that the traffic issue has become a problem in the city, especially during the weekends and peak tourism season when vehicles double in number.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Director Marie Venus Tan, in an earlier interview, said that in helping the city solve its traffic woes, they are also urging tourists to just walk around when in Baguio.
She said they are urging vehicle owners to leave their cars in the hotels and enjoy the cool weather while walking in going to the parks and other tourism destinations.
Tan added that walking is a healthy habit which is very appropriate in the city considering the short distance to and from the different destinations to the central business district and the city market where tourists can buy souvenir items.
At present, all efforts are being exhausted to ease the traffic in the city that reaches its peak during national holidays.
Baguio City Police Office Director Senior Superintendent Ramil Saculles said that through the mayor’s office, they asked for the use of the public school grounds as parking, to prevent vehicle owners from using the roads as their parking spaces.
The city government also sought the Government Service Insurance System’s permission to use its vacant lot located at DPS Compound in Marcoville Barangay as a temporary parking space from December 20, 2017 to January 6, 2018, to accommodate the enormous increase in the number of vehicles. PNA- Photo courtesy VIC VILLANUEVA/PIA-northboundasia.com