WHEN we decided to move out of Metro Manila to settle in Nuvali, in Laguna, we did so because of the promise of a more serene and less stressful life. Our life in the capital had become unbearable, with the punishing daily commute alone eating up precious time and wreaking havoc on our sanity. My family was growing and so the idea of living in a community with lots of trees, plants, hills, and mountains grew attractive with each tale of suffering by Metro Manilans about the chaos they had to endure.
Nuvali did not disappoint. Lots of greenery — “eco-living,” as the developers packaged it – and lots of space. There were malls that obviated the need to travel to Makati to shop at H&M or Uniqlo or Cotton On. The top schools are here, too: Xavier School, De La Salle, Miriam College, to name three, and more are reportedly coming. Lots of fine restaurants and coffee shops.
Our first year in Nuvali had been, for lack of a better word, blissful. But soon afterward, the thing I and my family loathed the most happened: massive traffic jams. The intersection of Nuvali Boulevard and the Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Road has become practically off limits to us during the weekends, as cars coming and going to Solenad, Vista Mall and Paseo – the three malls and shopping centers that congregate in this part of Santa Rosa City – choke the main road.
It was utterly disappointing to see Nuvali descend into chaos during the weekends, which is precisely what we had sought to evade in moving here from Manila. We have to plan our schedules around this traffic madness, deciding, for instance, to instead go to Makati and Manila during weekends (!) or doing the groceries early in the morning for fear of being caught in the traffic jam.
To make matters worse, the ongoing construction of CalaX has added to the congestion while the road widening along the Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Road has done little to ease the problem because the bottlenecks along this road have not been removed. If you take, for instance, the Eton exit along SLEX to go to these Santa Rosa malls, you have no choice but go through the bottleneck at the intersection in front of the Arcadia Mall in Paseo. For non-Nuvali residents, this can be a pain because in order to take detours (like exiting via the Silangan SLEX exit to get to Solenad via the round-about going to the Canlubang Golf and Country Club), you will need village stickers.
To be fair, and at the risk of sounding repetitive, this is particularly true during weekends and holidays. “Festival of Lights,” a Christmas lights show held beside Nuvali Boulevard, had created a traffic mess in Solenad since it began in 2016. Fortunately this year, the Ayala management seems to have put in place a more sensible traffic plan, but it is probably too early to crow about its success.
To some, this may be a small price to pay for a wonderful life in Nuvali and Laguna in general. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Solving this obviously needs careful planning by the authorities. Some solutions need to be put in place immediately though.
- There has to be another parallel road from Paseo leading to Solenad and perhaps exiting to the Santa Rosa Tagaytay Road after S&R.
- The government needs to hasten the widening of the chokepoint at the boundary of Cavite and Laguna, just after the public school going to Tagaytay.
- The Santa Rosa city government may need to deal with the tricycles that block the portion of the road in front of South Supermarket. They don’t have to be removed from the area – they just need to have a terminal of their own that does not encroach into the lanes.
- The Ayalas and/or the Yulos, or the Cabuyao government, might consider getting rid of the checkpoint/guard gate at the bridge after Santierra before the roundabout, so non-resident commuters can take the Canlubang Golf route and go to Tagaytay via Casile road. This will also encourage more travelers from SLEX to avoid the portion of Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Road from the SLEX exit up to Vista Mall, and take the Silangan or Canlubang exits and go straight to Nuvali without restrictions.
This and all, Nuvali and this part of Santa Rosa City remains a dream community for us and many other residents. We just need to make sure that it doesn’t turn into the nightmare we all sought not to relive. (Andres Enojado / Lifestyle Laguna)