City’s proposed bike lane law still undergoing refinement
As bikers of Baguio await the passage of the proposed bike lane ordinance, the Traffic and Transformation Management Division of the City Engineering Office (TTMD) has recommended for the revision of the proposal to make it compliant with the recent guidelines prescribed by the Department of Public Works and Highways.
In a forum with the Baguio City Council last Jan. 23, TTMD Head Januario Borillio said the proposed bike lane ordinance must conform with the updated DPWH guidelines to ensure safe biking experience along the city roads.
DPWH Order 263, s. 2022 issued on Dec. 19, 2022 superseded DO 88, s. 2020.
Borillio said the guidelines contain specific rules which should be incorporated into the ordinance.
He said the installed sharrows/bike lanes on certain roads in the city do not conform with the recent DPWH guidelines, such as the sharrow along Magsaysay Avenue which should not have been installed considering the average traffic volume of the road and the width of the roadway.
Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda agreed the proposed ordinance should be reviewed vis-a-vis the recent DPWH guidelines and altered if necessary so that the local law will be “legal and feasible for implementation, to the satisfaction of the bikers and the public.”
The proposed ordinance, which was crafted at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, seeks to establish a network of bicycle lanes and walking paths in the city in support of micromobility as an alternative to traditional transportation. Consultations have been conducted to solicit comments and suggestions of bikers in the city, the public, and concerned government offices.
The recent version of the proposed ordinance also calls for the review of the Local Public Transport Route Plan and its modification if necessary to include the promotion of different forms of micromobility as a way of life in the city.
In the proposal, the rightmost side of specific roads will be designated as bicycle lanes.
Five priority routes were identified for the installation of bike lanes. These were from Pacdal Circle to Leonard Wood Road to Upper Session Road rotund; from Loakan Road-PEZA to South Drive Rotonda to North Drive leading to upper Session Road; from Bonifacio Street rotund to Magsaysay Avenue leading to Malcolm Square; from Elpidio Quirino Highway Station 9 leading to Baguio City Hall; and from Dontogan/Green Valley intersection (Ben Palispis Highway) to BGH rotund.
The proposed ordinance also mandates provision of first aid stations at regular intervals along bike lanes and the conduct of seminars on road safety, road etiquette, and proper use of safety equipment for bikers.
Speed limits will be imposed both for vehicles and bicycles under the ordinance.
It also prohibits minors from using bike lanes unless supervised and accompanied by adults.
Councilor Mylen Victoria Yaranon, one of the authors of the proposed ordinance, said a forum will be set with the TTMD and the bikers for the refining of the ordinance before it goes back to the city council for its approval on second reading.
Meanwhile, Councilor Michael Lawana suggested giving incentives to employees in the city who cycle to and from work.
Lawana said he will author an ordinance providing for incentives to further encourage the use of bikes in the city as an alternative mode of transportation. – Jordan G. Habbiling