Traffic authorities are preparing mitigation measures to address traffic jams with the expected influx of holiday tourists and conduct of Christmas activities in the city this month.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong said traffic experts including the Baguio City Police Office Traffic Enforcement Unit and the City Engineering Office Traffic and Transportation Management Division are implementing measures and adjusting existing ones to address the problem.
Both offices had engaged public transport groups both from the city and Benguet to obtain their commitment in providing units especially during night activities and despite the traffic snarls to prevent stranded passengers.
BCPO Traffic Enforcement Head, Lt./Col. Zacarias Dausen said they are constantly in touch with Wilson Bumay-et Jr., president of the Baguio-Benguet Jeepney Federation on transport matters and the latter assured they will cooperate with the city.
Dausen said that for December, the traffic division is prepared to monitor traffic situations and implement necessary adjustments in all bottlenecks within the central business district and all other areas with tourist attractions to avert traffic standstills.
He said they have ready rerouting schemes for intersections and bottlenecks in critical areas and these are being reactivated as the need arises.
To lessen the number of vehicles within the city, the division is preparing a ‘vacation lane’ scheme where visitors intending to go to Sagada, Mountain Province; Mt. Pulag in Kabayan and Atok, Benguet; and other tourist destinations in these provinces and have no business in the city will be provided alternative routes so they can reach their destinations without having to pass through the city.
He said they expect this scheme to reduce the number of cars entering the city at any given time.
Dausen also reiterated the city government’s appeal for tourists to forego using their cars in roaming the city and instead avail of public transportation or walk to their destinations.
“Our city is a walkable city. Instead of wasting time and money doing the roundabout to look for parking spaces, why not make use of our jeepneys or taxis or better yet, walk,” he said.
Dausen said a sharp increase in vehicles plying the city’s tourist attraction routes was noted on Nov. 24 and 26, resulting in slow traffic movement.
City Tourism Officer Aloysius Mapalo said tourist arrival estimate during those days was at 80,000.
He said a similar trend is expected in all weekends of December. – Aileen P. Refuerzo