BAGUIO CITY – The city council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance creating the Baguio City Traffic and Development Authority (BCTDA), prescribing powers, functions and duties, and providing funds for its operations.
The ordinance, authored by CouncilorEdgard M. Avila, said the creation of a mega-traffic body is necessary to address the rising congestion in the city’s buzzling urban streets and roads.
Avila proposed that the traffic management office should be a department that will be a venue for the local government unit to coordinate planning and management of programs related to traffic and that the body will have supervisory and regulatory authority over traffic operations in the city.
As of date, most residents and visitors have been complaining of the worsening traffic, often citing how years ago, it took only utmost fifteen minutes to travel to various parts of the city but now it is unpredictably long.
Under the proposed ordinance, the Baguio City Traffic and Development Authority shall formulate, coordinate, regulate and monitor short, medium and long-term plans, policies and programs for the sustainable traffic development of the city; it shall include the crafting of programs for the services, land use, spatial and physical development using strong, coherent, governing values and shared vision with focus on integrated systems for transport and traffic development.
Avila explained that the BCTDA shall ensure that plans, polices, programs and services are pursued for the purpose of realizing development strategy of competitiveness, liability, mobility and management of the traffic road maps.
The ordinance stated that the proposed mega-traffic body will be headed by a chair appointed by the city Mayor and confirmed by the city council. with the heads of relevant government agencies sitting as non-voting members, including the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Department of Public works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Avila further proposed that the operations of the BCTDA will be funded by savings under the City Mayor’s Office and that the city council shall include the proper appropriations in the annual budget in the succeeding years.
The proponent added that it has become a judicial and public knowledge that the traffic situation in the city has worsened, especially with on-going road works aimed at improving traffic flow, and with the completion of the 88-kilometer Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX), it is expected that more visitors and activities will come to the city, thus, the need for new traffic schemes and experiments in order to find solutions to the traffic congestions in identified choke points around the city.
However, he stressed that the increase in traffic volume requires an urgent need to address the problem which can be met with the creation of the BCTDA that will focus its attention in solving the traffic jams around the city./By Dexter A. See