50% of road space must be for people: Pangilinan

SENATOR Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan strongly encouraged Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar to prioritize the construction of bike lanes and pedestrian lanes during the budget hearing of the DPWH at the Senate today.

Pangilinan said that the pandemic underscored the need to balance the road space for private vehicles and public transport, pedestrians as well as the so-called active transport infrastructure or the human powered forms of travel like bicycles.

“The active transport infrastructure such as protected cycling lanes, wider walk lanes, PWD-inclusive infra, and better land infrastructure are priority pandemic responses. Some groups and organizations are really pushing for a balanced road space since our bias has always been toward private vehicles which are causing congestion and more pollution,” said Pangilinan.

In response, Villar said that the DPWH is coordinating with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Metropolitan Development Authority (MMDA) for the implementation of the bike lanes. He also said that there are road systems that have been included bike lanes such as the Boracay Circumferential Road, the Laguna Lake Highway, the Bacolod Economic Highway, and EDSA.

“At least 50% of road space should be allotted to mass public transport, pedestrians, and light mobility devices,” Pangilinan reiterated.

At the same time, Pangilinan commended DPWH for its initiative in constructing and rehabilitating accessibility facilities and alloting a P560-million budget for this project.

The senator further recommends the installation of access facilities for public schools for their inclusivity efforts.

“You represent the new generation of public servants and hopefully that new generation representation will truly include a more balanced infrastructure that will address precisely these needs,” Pangilinan added.