June 21, 2021

Abalos: Edsa vehicle traffic is approaching pre-pandemic levels

According to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr., the number of cars traveling the Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (Edsa) has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Abalos said at a press conference that the number of vehicles passing through Edsa on June 10, 2021 was 318,451, up from 405,882 automobiles on July 8, 2019.

“Ang ibig po nitong sabihin ay dito po sa Edsa (This implies we’ve reached that volume in Edsa),” Abalos remarked.

Edsa’s stated daily capacity is just 300,000 cars, he said.

According to Abalos, the average speed of cars traversing Edsa has increased to 24 kilometers per hour (kph), up from 11 kph before the epidemic.

A rise in motor vehicle purchases this year, he added, is one explanation for the increase in vehicular traffic.

He claimed that vehicle sales increased 130 times in April this year compared to the same month in 2020, citing statistics from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association.

In April of current year, 17,843 cars were sold, compared to just 133 in April of 2020, when many parts of the nation were under heightened community quarantine owing to the Covid-19 epidemic.

He said 88,155 vehicle units were sold in the first four months of 2021, up 36.6 percent from 64,675 units sold in the same time last year.

“Ano ang tao na naman? Ang pagtaas ng cars sa ating bansa ay ay ay ay ay ay ay ay ay ay ay ay a (What is the purpose of this?) kung kaya essential ang infrastructure tinatawag (What is the point of this?) The number of cars on the road in the nation is increasing. That is why infrastructure is critical),” Abalos said.

The proposed extension of the northbound Balintawak section from three to five lanes is one of the infrastructure projects that is expected to enhance traffic flow in Edsa, he added.

He added the MMDA is in discussions with Camp Crame about potentially adding a lane to the adjacent service road for southbound traffic.

The proposed elevated bus ramps at junctions along Edsa for the Edsa Busway are also in the works, according to Abalos, although alternative solutions are being explored owing to the project’s high cost.

“Sa isang intersection, P400 million more. And how many are we talking about? There are at least three or four crossroads. However, tignan natin, kung may traffic lights, maibsan ang traffic (A single junction would cost PHP400 million.) And we’re talking about at least three or four crossroads. However, we’ll see whether traffic lights help),” Abalos added.

He said it would take a month to see whether traffic lights are sufficient to relieve congestion, and if they aren’t, the elevated bus ramp project will be continued if required.

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