Council defers move on call to extend Session Road closure
Until an official report from concerned offices and other stakeholders is submitted, the city council will not act on the City Mayor’s Office request to extend the closure of one lane of Session Road.
“What are the reasons that would justify another six months of closure of the road every Sunday? What were the gains from the pedestrianization?” Councilor Benny Bomogao, chair of the committee on public utilities, transportation, and traffic legislation, inquired during their Jan. 20 session.
City Administrator Bonifacio dela Peña claimed that the six-month experimental closure of Session Road last year was successful because it encouraged some residents to commute and just walk at Session Road instead of driving their vehicles.
Dela Peña said there are several activities lined up and awaiting execution in line with Session Road’s pedestrianization, such as One Town-One Product exhibition, Barangay Women Livelihood Projects, chalk art for the Guinness World Records, and support for urban farmers.
Councilors Betty Tabanda and Arthur Allad-iw recalled that the objectives of the closure of the road were for the improvement of air quality in the area and for traffic experimentation.
“Do you have reports on the air quality and on the traffic situation along Harrison Road, Magsaysay Road, and Bonifactio Street?” Tabanda asked. “Those reports would serve as our basis in deciding whether we approve the request or not.”
Bonifacio admitted they are still on the process of consolidating reports from different offices and agencies. But he assured the council that there had been a decrease in air pollution in the area as per his observation.
He also assured that the activities conducted in the past months did not contribute to the pollution in the area.
“After the Session Road closure, it seems that more people are walking. They even recorded an average of 40,000 people who walk along Session Road in just a day,” Dela Peña reported.
Asked about the traffic condition in neighboring roads during the conduct of the said activity, Police Cpt. Samuel Pacio from the Baguio City Police Office said the closure of Session Road every Sunday affected the traffic condition in the other roads earning complaints from public utility vehicle drivers.
Councilor Lilia Fariñas said there should be guidelines governing the conduct of activities during the Session Road closure. – Jordan G. Habbiling