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Editorial: Fix the Calamba-Los Baños traffic mess

We do not presume to know better than government planners who are managing the province’s traffic but these causes are worsened by a seeming lack of political will.

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AS our report last week on the state of vehicular traffic between Calamba and Los Baños has shown, the cause of congestion along one of Laguna’s main thoroughfares is not so much that the highway practically only has two lanes — it’s the fact that the government doesn’t seem to have the willingness to fix the problem. We’ve identified three such causes: 1) the establishments along the way, 2) the lack of efficient loading and unloading areas, and 3) choke points caused by old rail tracks and a lack or absence of pedestrian overpasses.

We do not presume to know better than government planners who are managing the province’s traffic but these causes are worsened by a  seeming lack of political will.

Take, for instance, the shops along the highway that sell popular pasalubong items. Buyers and their vehicles congregate near or in front of these stores, blocking the road. How difficult is it to require these establishments to have parking spaces off the road, which should be a must for businesses operating right along the highway? We can probably forgive sari-sari stores for not having parking space for customers but these pasalubong stores are an industry in their own right, and should be treated accordingly by the government. Which means, no, you can’t jam the highway with your buko pie.

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It doesn’t take rocket science to know that if you don’t have loading/unloading zones or docking bays, as well as pedestrian overpasses, roads are going to get blocked. This is a problem that can be solve both by providing such facilities and ensuring that traffic enforcers actually enforce the rules, like holding drivers and pedestrians accountable for their infractions. The argument that these are petty violations won’t cut it because, truth be told, being stuck in traffic for three hours in a 20-kilometer stretch of the highway is, one, not fun, and two, it costs us — the commuting public — money and time and a little bit of our sanity.

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People often complain that Filipinos are an undisciplined bunch. That may be true but, often, that’s because the government, by its incompetence and shortsightedness, does not make it any easier. Governments exist to save the people from themselves, not add to the misery that they cause against each other. (Laguna Now)

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