Issue of November 5, 2017

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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Closure of Session Road still a plan
by Rimaliza A. Opiña

The public would have to be content with the “institutionalized closure” of Session Road, for now.

Responding over the incessant requests for the permanent closure of Session Road to allow pedestrianization of a portion of the central business district, Councilor Elmer Datuin, chair of the city council committee on tourism, parks and playgrounds, and special events, said in a recent press conference that the long-time clamor will not be taking place anytime soon.

The recent proposal is to close the road once every month.

Datuin said the city government remains open to the possibility of closing the historic road, but other stakeholders are lukewarm about the idea.

The institutionalized closure of Session Road is during the Panagbenga’s Session Road in Bloom, Baguio Day, Earth Day, and Christmas in Baguio opening.

The road was also recently closed to give way to the event organized by the University of Baguio.

A fiesta vibe often happens at Session Road every time it is pedestrianized. Community-led street arts, mini concerts, zumba, and street cafes are common fixtures during these times. 

The clamor to close Session Road for pedestrians was discussed during the 24th annual conference of the Transportation Science Society of the Philippines in July.

A group of researchers from De La Salle University conducted a perception survey on the proposal and asked pedestrians, business owners, car users, and public utility drivers about the plan. They also measured the volume of pedestrians at select times of the day, as well as the common destination of pedestrians and vehicles. 

The research said that of the 1,800 respondents, many recognize its advantages to the environment, health, and business but are apprehensive about traffic build-up in other streets as a result of the non-use of Session Road.

The research recommended coming up with a more comprehensive study which would include rerouting schemes and parking issues.

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