■ Hanna C. Lacsamana
Taking cue from recent long weekends that brought in tourists in droves that caused heavy traffic in the city, the Baguio City Police Office has laid out a traffic plan together with the City Engineering Office for the upcoming Christmas in Baguio, another jampacked season for the country’s Summer Capital.
Lt/Col. Zacarias Dausen, BCPO Traffic Enforcement Unit chief, this week said the BCPO and the technical working group of the Traffic Management Division of the CEO have prepared a plan to manage the flow of traffic in the city which is ready for implementation.
In a press briefing on Dec. 13, Dausen said the BCPO will maximize the deployment of its personnel, a move that is based on the recent long weekend where heavy traffic was experienced along tourist spots and at the major intersections in the city.
“As part of our adjustment, we will deploy more personnel in major roads, intersections, and tourist spots. We will use our cobra teams or the motorcycle cops and deploy them in strategic areas, especially where we expect congestion day and night, particularly along South Drive, Baguio Country Club, Pacdal area, Botanical Garden kung saan medyo madugo ang traffic during the holiday season,” Dausen said.
These motorcycle cops are those who can be sent anytime when traffic congestion occurs and those who could easily navigate through the volumes of vehicles to respond and help untangle traffic in the congested area.
BCPO is also establishing and activating its traffic control points, which had been done last Panagbenga. It will be manned by personnel of stations 1 and 8 at Kennon Road and stations 9 and 10 along Marcos Highway.
The traffic control points are the city’s main entry and exit points which are used by most of the tourists.
In these areas, traffic assistance desks will be put in place.
The traffic control points are tasked to streamline entry of vehicles passing through the city, or those which are on their way to other places of the region and do not have business in the city.
“They will direct the vehicles, such as if a vehicle is entering the city and going to Sagada, Mountain Province, the traffic control point will direct them so that they do not have to go to the central business district. There will be rerouting,” he said.
In line with its activation, Dausen said they will be allotting “bakasyon lanes”, which are the ones that will be used by passing through vehicles.
Motorists that will enter the city will be given a map and leaflets that will guide and show them the alternate routes they will have to pass through.
“We will be giving them leaflets at nakalagay na doon ang mga kalsadang dadaanan nila para hindi sila mawala,” he said.
The maps will be provided in coordination with the Baguio City District Engineering Office which Dausen said is willing to prepare, as well signs written in tarpaulins to be placed in strategic areas.
“For Marcos Highway where volumes of vehicles are expected in the event Kennon Road remains closed, those who, for instance are going to Mountain Province or Kabayan in Benguet at wala naman silang gagawin sa Baguio, we will direct them to Suello then pass either Asin Road or go down Naguillian through Lamtang, or if they use San Luis Road they will exit at Station 1 then go up First Road going to Tacay-Longlong Road then exit to La Trinidad. This way, we have diverted them from the volume of vehicles entering the BGH rotunda which, along with the Sta. Catalina area, is a bottleneck of vehicles.”
As in the past, Dausen said they will seek assistance from the Tuba municipal government so that the maps can be distributed to the entering motorists at the Camp 1 checkpoint which will allow motorists to check on the alternate routes before they enter the city.
He added the city will have 30 additional personnel who will augment the BCPO police force upon the request of City Director Francisco Bulwayan, Jr. from the Regional Mobile Force Company.
BCPO is also expecting new police graduates to be deployed to their respective areas before the holiday rush starts to help in traffic management.