December 4, 2022

The city council has sought the suspension of the P50 million worth bicycle lane project until such time the City Engineer’s Office complies with the updated guidelines on the design of bicycle facilities on national roads.
On motion of Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, the council passed a resolution asking the Bids and Awards Committee to suspend the awarding of the contract to the winning bidder of the project that does not only lack a feasibility study but also not compliant with the recent guidelines issued by the Department of Public Works and Highways.
The CEO presented to the council on July 12 the proposed project, which covers 7.25 kilometers of pure bike lanes and 6.45 kilometers of shared road spread out in various areas.
A shared road is one that is designated for bicycles, but can also be used by cars.
Engr. Orlando Genove of the CEO said the P50M will be used to paint the bike lanes, install signages, and for road portions that need repair.
Genove said this is only for the first phase of the bike lane project, which covers the routes: Loakan-Apugan to Leonard Wood Road, BGH rotunda to Panagbenga Park via Military Cut Off, Justice Hall to Kalaw St., Gov. Pack to BGH rotunda, Harrison to M. Roxas via Magsaysay/Bonifacio, and City Hall to Marcos Highway via Legarda.
DPWH-Baguio City District Engineering Officer Rene Zarate, however, said under the updated guidelines on the design of bicycle facilities, the roads in Baguio do not qualify for the designation of lanes exclusively for bicycles.
Engr. Cesario Rillera of BCDEO said before setting up bike lanes, a feasibility study should be conducted to determine its applicability, taking into consideration traffic volume, preferred bike facilities, number of authorized users, and capacity and level of roads.
“If there’s no feasibility study, this might result in unstable traffic conditions and may compromise the safety of road users,” he said.
Genove admitted they bid out the project without conducting a feasibility study although he said the designation of the bike lanes was pursuant to an earlier guideline issued by the DPWH.
Zarate said the updated guidelines should prevail. Under the recent guidelines, the roads of Baguio are classified under category 3, in which the designation of lanes exclusively for bikes is not applicable due to their narrow width. Roads under category 3 must only designate a shared roadway, which can be used simultaneously by bikes and vehicles.
Despite the CEO’s lapses, Councilor Mylen Yaranon commended the office for planning ahead.
She said the CEO has started planning for the installation of bike lanes using the earlier DPWH guidelines.
The design guidelines used by the CEO in planning for the bike lane project was issued in 2020.
The updated guidelines, which classified the roads in Baguio under category 3 was issued by the DPWH in June. – Jane B. Cadalig