In this essay, fellow urbanist April Valle and I criticise the proposed Pasig River Expressway (PAREX) as a means to re-engineer our metro’s fabric for bypass-implant urban development. We also dwell on international precedent projects and strategies that can better and holistically approach the existing city, most esp. the Pasig river environs.
It’s been a while since I’ve written for the media, because university life has been keeping me with academic essays and design work, but when CNN Philippines got in touch for an urban perspective on COVID-19, I found myself writing non-stop.
No wonder. We complain about traffic but we induce it.
“The road is our right.” Yes, and here in the Philippines, we are the number one violators of our own rights.
For six days, I was released from the bondage of daily three-hour traffic standstills. This was the biggest relief from Metro Manila’s urban jungle. Even if my Filipino legs had to endure the twenty thousand or more steps of walkable Singapore.
While transport planning could provide a litany of issues on our daily plight, let me highlight these immediate few:
“We want to change the relationship between you and public transport.” While Singaporeans love the jeepney, and while this vehicle is culturally iconic for our capital city, many of us point to our drivers’ discipline and the terrible smoke-belching that comes with its trips. Moving ahead the crowded street, our option would be the unruly bus, or if we have the blessing of patience and immunity to being squeezed like sardines, then there’s the MRT or the LRT. A few bucks more could give us the taxi, but we complain there are sanitation and, well, respect issues.