EDSA-Roxas Part 1: The Gridlock
The EDSA-Roxas Boulevard area is one of the busiest place in Pasay City. It is a major intersection of two national roads; and a major passenger drop-off and pick-up point. EDSA-Ortigas or EDSA-Quezon Avenue are nothing compared to the numerous problems of EDSA-Roxas.
Part 1 of this short series will focus on what I started to call the “EDSA-Roxas Gridlock”. In the next post, we will talk about the public utility vehicle terminals or the lack thereof. What I will share with you is the situation then what I think can be the solution or workaround. It will be up to the authorities to study it and act on it.
Earlier was the second night of the “EDSA-Roxas Gridlock” and as I always do, I observed the situation because I want to understand and find possible solutions to the problem. For this episode of the gridlock, the main cause was the traffic light that was not working.
However, things do break. Whatever the reason behind why the traffic light was blinking only should not have caused a major gridlock, to the point that lone enforcers and even a volunteer had to give up.
First, let’s paint the picture, or at least I am going to try give you an idea of the EDSA-Roxas Boulevard intersection.
- Two national roads intersect
- In the middle of the intersection is a thick, round support foundation for the Roxas Boulevard EDSA Flyover
- EDSA on both sides have 4 to 5 lanes each
- The ground level Roxas Boulevard have 2 lanes both directions (the other 2 lanes are for the flyover)
- Left turn is allowed from all direction (4 total; EDSA to Roxas (2) and Roxas to EDSA (2))
- Right turn is allowed as well but with caution
- Crossing straight from EDSA to EDSA is allowed, both sides
- Crossing straight from Roxas to Roxas is not allowed, that is the purpose of the flyover
- Pedestrians are crossing from all directions (yes, even diagonally)
- Public utility vehicles can drop or pick-up passengers whenever and wherever the passengers want and are
Here are the reasons that I’ve observed for tonight
- Trailer trucks
- Lack of traffic enforcers
Trailer trucks and buses
Trailer trucks are big and long. As is usual in the Philippines, if your automobile is big, you feel the power to do whatever you want on the road. In this EDSA-Roxas gridlock episode, the drivers of trailer trucks were using their huge advantage. With the traffic light not working, they cross the intersection at will (from Roxas to EDSA; and from EDSA to Roxas).
Even if the traffic light was working, it is already a very common scene to have the trailers of these trucks block the intersection because there are too many pedestrians crossing across their path, public vehicles are picking-up passengers, and/or Roxas Boulevard is full.
In other words, traffic light or not, these trailer trucks can and usually does cause a gridlock. Of course, without a working traffic light, it is far worse.
Divert the trailer trucks elsewhere. Those coming from EDSA Southbound, let them turn left at Macapagal Avenue, including the buses — yes, even the airport buses. By doing this, the trailers of these trucks will not block the intersection whenever they can not continue to move forward into Roxas Boulevard, due to reasons mentioned earlier.
Macapagal is not exclusive for private cars and it is not a private road. Macapagal is also wider than the entry point of Roxas Boulevard.
The other solution, total truck ban. Why are these trucks even allowed to use EDSA and Roxas Boulevard during peak hours, I have no idea. They should be allowed from 00:30 to 05:30; and 10:00 to 15:00 only. In addition to that, if their destination is south (for example, Cavite) why not use the ports in Batangas?
This is the part that will really pissed anyone, drivers who think they can do whatever they want. I am not only talking about the trailer truck and bus drivers, but jeepney, taxi, motorcycle, as well as private car drivers. All of them!
From what I witnessed last night and tonight, the drivers have already seen (obviously) a gridlock forming. What they all did, they made it worse. Instead of letting others pass so a gridlock can be avoided, they all decided to form one — multiple times.
If you think the road is your personal puzzle board, you deserve to have your driver’s license revoked permanently. Lack of discipline.
Revoke all their driver’s license, permanently if possible. Another solution, make the issuance of the license very strict.
Sure, they should be flagged-down by the enforcers. But can they arrest all those drivers during the heated gridlock? No. Even if they do, it will only cause more traffic and heads may also start to explode.
I have no other solution for this one because discipline starts in us, not from the outside.
Surprised? How can pedestrians cause gridlocks? I know! But believe it or not, from what I have seen tonight, the pedestrians were a factor. Let me explain.
Crossing when they are not supposed to cross!
Okay, let me elaborate. Earlier, whenever a build-up of pedestrians crossed, the unlucky side will stop moving. Once they do, the other drivers from the other sides will, at the same time, cross the intersection. A gridlock starts to build.
Once the pedestrians crossed, the side that was interrupted will push and ensure a gridlock does happen. For them “hey, it was our turn to cross, the pedestrians interrupted us”. And wuala, gridlock.
Here’s another. Whenever a lone enforcer allows one side to move, the pedestrians will cross once the lone enforcer puts his attention elsewhere. Like the trailer truck and bus drivers, the pedestrians used their advantage, their numbers and the fact that no one dares bump anyone, not even slightly.
Once the pedestrians has crossed, well, the gridlock is back, all the lone enforcer could do was sigh, scratch his head, and give up.
Do you want to know what’s worse? Pedestrians are crossing diagonally as if they themselves are automobiles. What in the world is wrong with the Filipino people? I pity the lone enforcer because he can not do anything lest the pedestrians upload a very biased video and make him look evil.
Pedestrian overpass. I’ve already said this multiple times, even told the MMDA and Pasay authorities about this months to a year ago, pedestrians crossing in the EDSA-Roxas area is a disaster waiting to happen.
Most pedestrians are not stupid. If there is an overpass, they will use it. Of course, stupid pedestrians will never disappear, arrest them please. Or let them die. It was their choice so let them pay for their choice. Arrest or die.
When there is a pedestrian overpass, use the pedestrian overpass!
Lack of traffic enforcers
Last but definitely not the least. In tonight’s gridlock episode, a lone enforcer or three, will not be able to control the kind of undisciplined drivers and pedestrians in an intersection of two national roads. What makes the EDSA-Roxas intersection harder to manage is also the fact that there is a huge, round flyover post/foundation right at the middle.
What happened earlier, and yesternight, whenever the lone enforcer moves to the other side, the drivers he asked to stop will start crossing because they can no longer see the enforcer. And with trailer trucks and buses crossing too, the lone enforcer’s view is usually blocked. Even if his view was not blocked, he simply can not run over to the other side. It just is not possible.
The first lone enforcer earlier gave up. After another gridlock formed, a new lone enforcer arrived. He eventually gave up too. Then a civilian motorcycle club member volunteered. He too gave up.
I had to bombed the MMDA and Pasay Facebook and Twitter accounts to get them to send at least 5 traffic enforcers. Four arrived at around 24:00, and just like that, the gridlock was solved and the traffic was smooth again.
Always have at least 5 traffic enforcers in the EDSA-Roxas Boulevard intersection. This intersection is wide, even if there is a working traffic light, they are still needed because of the other factors mentioned above. And what if the traffic light fails?
Which actually happened last month at around 13:00. Right after the traffic lights went dead, all the drivers started playing a gridlock puzzle game. I had to call the attention of the resting lone traffic enforcer that the traffic light’s dead. He called for backup and they prevented a gridlock.
The traffic enforcers must come as a team of 5. One is control, who will stand in the middle. The other four will stay on the other four vehicle stop points. These four guys are control’s extra arm.
This five-man team actually already exist, but they’re on-duty during the day only. After their shift ends, no one’s replacing them. So, like yesternight and earlier, the traffic light stopped working and no one’s there to control the mayhem.
Give the enforcers some extra authority too because with the kind of drivers and pedestrians that we have in the EDSA-Roxas area, the enforcers are the ones who are at a disadvantage. At least until solutions can be implemented, like the pedestrian overpass; and a possible truck ban or redirection to Macapagal Avenue.
The EDSA-Roxas gridlock would not even have happened if these factors were not even present — working traffic lights or not; day time or night time. This area is the busiest intersection, both for automobiles and people. This place badly need solutions or workarounds.
The above I’ve shared can be a good starting point. It’s the first step before we consider a more complicated, wild, time consuming, alternatives. Which we will be discussing in the next post.
Good job to the MMDA Twitter team; and the MMDA and Pasay enforcers who responded as a team. Of course a pat-in-the-back to those two lone enforcers and the lone civilian rider volunteer, who did what they can to help ease the gridlock. If I was in your position, I’d give up as well.
EDSA-Roxas Part 1: The Gridlock by Yuki is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at Legal Notice.