Here's What the Planned EDSA Makeover Means for You

Are we really getting bike lanes?

(SPOT.ph) Metro Manila is shifting to a general community quarantine starting June 1. To prepare for the inevitable chaos of millions of people suddenly out on the Metro's streets, the Department of Transportation is gearing up to transform Manila's most vital artery: EDSA. We're looking at designated bike lanes, as well as bus lanes, and on-ground pedestrian crossings (hard to imagine, we know). Check out the proposed design below:

Here's what the proposed changes to EDSA means for commuters and pedestrians:

You could consider switching from driving to biking

Bikes are being pushed as a major part of the new norm. This method of transportation will  help "maintain physical distancing, provide environmental and health benefits, and promote efficient road-space use," said the online statement of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

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A half-day trial run of a bike lane on EDSA, from White Plains area to Bonny Serrano Avenue, was set up on May 25. Authorities are still fleshing out how to make sure bikers would be safe on the main thoroughfare. "What we want are ‘protected’ bike lanes," Celine Pialago, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority spokesperson, told the Inquirer.

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As for folks driving private cars, it looks like you will be switching places with buses. The designated yellow lanes of old will now be taking the center lanes, with "Bus Boarding Areas in strategic places," noted the DOTr. Pedestrian crossings to reach the bus stations will cut across lanes for private vehicles.

Taking public transportation may be more challenging

Aside from the EDSA transformation, the DOTr will implement a two-phase process for the return of mass transport to Metro Manila. The first phase will span from June 1 to June 21; trains, taxis and ride-hailing services, private shuttle services, point-to-point buses will be allowed to operate. Bikes will also be promoted starting from this phase. Tricycles, meanwhile, are subject to the ruling of local governments. 

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The second phase will begin on June 22 and end on June 30. Passenger buses, modern jeepneys, and UV Express services will be allowed. Just note that all transport options will be required to operate with a limited capacity—meaning fewer passengers will be allowed on. "The one-meter social-distance rule between persons will be strictly enforced inside ALL the [public utility vehicles] and mass transport units, in adherence to health protocols," said the DOTr. 

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