It is a testimony to the vision of our leaders in Baguio City to restore the luster of the city against urban decay that there are many structural and developmental works being undertaken all over.
Roads are being expanded, structures built on road rights-of-way and waterways are demolished, circumferential roads are opened, and lands that rightfully belong to the city are being recovered without any regard or favor or influence. This is the mark of a true and dedicated public servant.
However, conspicuously absent among the agenda is a comprehensive plan to remedy the lack of parking spaces. Parking slots to accommodate several vehicles is obviously of utmost necessity since the lack of it is not doing the city any good. It is a problem hitting us like a rock being banged on our heads.
The material time it takes to look for a parking slot within the central business district in Baguio City is affecting the productivity of our people. Pray tell me, how many conferences and meetings have been cancelled because the participants have no sufficient parking space?
How many appointments have gone awry or were delayed because there is no suitable place to park? In a highly urbanized place like Baguio, time translates into productivity and productivity, in turn, depends on time.
Not only that, the lack of parking spaces is complicating the already problematic traffic situation. During rush hour, traffic along major thoroughfares, particularly that leading to a major mall atop Session Road, is congested. Even those who have no intention of going to the mall are inconvenienced and must bear the burden of the traffic buildup. There are no alternative routes since the flow of traffic within those areas is one-way. Neither can those passing there make a U-turn because once a vehicle is caught in traffic, it is impossible to turn back. So, they just go with the flow inch by inch until finally, they can pass through. But, by the time they do, considerable time has lapsed.
It is not really the volume of vehicles that is causing so much traffic. It is the congestion of cars in a single area, specifically in places where there are parking spaces. This congestion stalls the movement of vehicles. This is so since those stuck in the traffic take several lanes to jock for proper position towards their respective destinations. They criss-cross, making the flow chaotic and erratic. Such situation breeds stress and makes motorists lose their cool.
Maybe it will help if the corporations catering to the parking business are compelled to provide a road within their own property that can be used as a lane in entering and exiting their premises. After all, they are making a killing in terms of fees. Should it not be proper that they must provide a part of their property as an access or as an ingress?
On the part of the city, it is about time that a project that will implement the erection of a parking space be undertaken. Surely, the city has the budget and the capacity to do this. In fact, a few months ago, several areas were identified as a viable site for parking. During the past administration, Melvin Jones was proposed as a site but it did not materialize because several sectors opposed it. They said that Melvin Jones must be preserved for sentimental reasons. Yeah, they may be right.
Nonetheless, there are sites in and around Burnham Park where a parking building may be introduced. The place where the old library was is a good place. Anyway, this place is already being used as a parking space. There, too, is the vacant lot beside the Orchidarium which, to this date, is idle. Or, if the city wants to decongest the central district, there are many lots at Mines View. Rather than these lands being occupied by informal settlers, we might as well convert it into productive use.
It only takes a matter of political will to do what is needed and the current leadership of Baguio has plenty of it. Maybe, it is about time this political is exercised with the necessity and the long overdue building that will be operated as a parking space be built on solid grounds so that traffic in Baguio may be eased. This will make Baguio more productive and more viable for tourism.