Cagayan de Oro City’s traffic problems escalate during rush hour.
With a booming local economy, the regional center of Northern Mindanao has attracted working migrants from all over the region. Not only that, companies based in Manila and other cities outside of Cagayan de Oro are putting up local offices in the city bringing in workers to relocate in the city. As population increases, so does the number of vehicles.
Because of progress, many outlying areas have been developed for residential subdivisions to cater to the growing population. The towns of Tagoloan, Villanueva and Jasaan in the east and Opol and El Salvador City in the west have now become part of the city’s daily economic activities. These four towns host industries and residential subdivisions which have contributed to the city’s progress.
As a major transshipment hub, many large hauling trucks make their way into the city’s ports and warehouses. As a traffic measure, the city banned trucks from entering the city proper at certain times of the day particularly during rush hours in the morning and afternoon. The opening of the coastal road to Opol also allowed the trucks to avoid the bottlenecks at the city proper. However, the eastern coastal road is still under construction thereby prolonging the agony of both motorists and commuters alike. With only two existing parallel roads to the east (National Highway-CM Recto, and JR Borja Extension), the merging traffic obviously produced another bottleneck at Gusa. Recent traffic accidents along the Gusa-Puerto have caused countless hours of stalled traffic. The opening of new wide roads would have alleviate the situation and provide alternate routes for motorists.
NEED FOR NEW WIDE ROADS
CM Recto Avenue and Don Apolinar Velez are the only wide roads in the CITY PROPER …and they are decades old. Corrales Avenue, JR Borja Street and Extension, Julio Pacana, Vamenta Boulevard, Osmena Street and Extension are the other major roads but these are 2-lane roads…4 lanes as described but only 2 are actually used, the other 2 lanes are used for street parking.
Looking for parking space has always been a major headache for motorists particularly at the city proper. Small roads, small city blocks…you’ll spend a long time just looking for a space to park. A mid-rise parking building would have provided a solution where drivers park, pay a parking fee and walk to their destination.
Meanwhile, traffic lights are now NOT FUNCTIONING in three (3) major intersections in the city: (1) Velez-CM Recto, (2) Corrales-CM Recto, and (3) Masterson-Vamenta. Based on experience, several times traffic in the said intersections have caused a grid-lock among vehicles both private and public. This usually happens in the absence of Roads and Traffic Administration (RTA) personnel. There are also useless traffic lights installed in several intersections. With small city blocks, intervals are short and sometimes, the traffic lights are not synchronized. Accordingly, they intentionally TURNED OFF these traffic lights. Many are also asking…what ever happened to the CCTV-Traffic Light project?
The RTA lately deputized some 35 new personnel. And they plan to train more…and the city really needs more.
The RTA had succeeded in implementing the anti-jaywalking ordinance at Divisoria. But critics are quick to say it’s easier to implement in Divisoria…why not at Cogon?
There are many overpasses built for the safety of pedestrians crossing major roads. But laziness and convenience overcome the need to access these structures which have become a waste of money. Two are found in Carmen (along Masterson Ave. and along Vamenta Blvd.) near West City Central School. Many don’t use it at all. The absence of center railings also undermined the purpose of the overpass.
JR BORJA BRIDGE
The city welcomed the opening of the new JR Borja Bridge. It is the only bridge linking Carmen to the city proper between Ysalina Bridge and Maharlika Bridge. The bridge is said to decongest the two old bridges. It certainly did…but during rush hours, you could see a long line of vehicles stalled at the bridge. Because the bridge has only two lanes, vehicles turning right to Vamenta Blvd are blocked by vehicles going straight to Max Suniel Street when traffic is stopped. Sometimes, the lines occupy the entire length of the bridge.
Macanhan and Licoan Flyovers are the last flyovers constructed. The supposed Patag-Carmen-JR Borja Skyway project was shelved due to high costs.
OPENING OF NEW GROWTH AREAS
Opening of new growth centers is a good measure to decongest the city proper. The area around Westbound Terminal in Bulua is a potential growth area.
Do you notice that almost all public utility jeepneys (PUJs) pass Cogon market? Cogon’s traffic situation has been a major headache for motorists and even traffic enforcers. Sidewalk vendors, unabated entry of counter flowing trisikads, illegal street structures, hazard parking, undisciplined drivers … sum them up and you’ll avoid going to Cogon.
The city’s traffic woes are a favorite topic in coffee shops, restaurants and even in normal gatherings…and it will continue to be the talk of the town…until there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.