By Arjay de Guzman, HS 4A
The traffic ‘Armageddon’ along Ortigas has already caused countless delays and frustrations not only to La Salle Green Hills but to everyone passing by the avenue. The public blamed LSGH as the main culprit behind the traffic jams.
With the illegally parked vehicles, disorganized system of drop-off points, rampant swerving, and a school with a student population of about 3000, it is not surprising that Ortigas Avenue has been identified as one of the ‘EDSA chokepoints’ that worsen the congestion in the metro.
Last year, popular Facebook page Top Gear posted a video titled “Philippine School with the Largest Parking Lot”, which made rounds online. The one-minute video showed motorists occupy two lanes of Ortigas Avenue while waiting for LSGH students.
The video enraged netizens especially the people affected by the jams brought about by the school. This, however, was not the first time the page featured such chaotic scenes along Ortigas.
The school administrators were well aware of the situation and have already worked hand-in-hand with the local authorities to help solve the problem.
The Barangay authorities raised the problem of parked vehicles waiting for the students along Ortigas Avenue. The authorities said they will no longer tolerate this habit and will be stricter in enforcing traffic regulations.
LSGH agrees with the rule of law but has requested a period of time for the school to warn the parents. This was also the time when a new traffic scheme was put into effect wherein the private vehicles and school buses switched waiting zones in the campus.
Mandaluyong Mayor Benjamin “Benjur” C. Abalos, Jr. expressed his desire to meet with the school administrators about the traffic situation and propose possible solutions. The meeting was represented by various departments under the Office of the Mayor including the barangay officials and Green Hills East.
The local authorities suggested another traffic scheme that would invert the entrance and exit of vehicles flowing in and out the campus. The traffic aides, together with the school’s security, were the ones who led the implementation of the new scheme.
Besides the new scheme, the mayor also said that he wanted to put a yellow box in front of the area where vehicles coming from the fly-over and the two lanes clog one another. However, as of writing, this plan was not yet carried out.
LSGH Brother President Victor “Vic” A. Franco FSC believes that the efforts of both the school and local authorities were effective in easing the congestion compared before.
“Certainly when we had the first scheme, [the Safety and Security Office] was recording almost daily to see how the traffic was moving. It was obvious that the lanes closer to the island were moving much better compared to before. Before, nag-coclog ‘yan,” Brother Vic said.
Moreover, the Brother President admitted that LSGH is only acting now to resolve the issue despite the contempt the school is garnering regarding the issue.
“People just got used to the system, [but when] the barangay got very strict with [Unlimited Network of Opportunities] (UNO), they also had to get strict with us,” he added.
Brother Vic however noted that LSGH should not be the only one blamed regarding the worsening traffic. Different institutions in society should are also accountable to the problem.
“[The traffic] has been building up. More and more vehicles are coming in Metro Manila. Are our streets getting wider? No. Another thing to remember [is that] we get cited because we’re the first ones, but don’t forget there’s Poveda, ICA, Xavier, Unimart, and we have a hospital, and those places are constantly getting people coming in and out, so the clogging of vehicles is not coming [from] here; it’s everywhere,” he argued.
Although the officials have started working on the traffic in Ortigas Avenue, the changes implemented only made a slight improvement. Similar to the traffic situations all around Metro Manila, the authorities are yet to arrive to a radical solution.
“We are looking at different options,” Brother Vic concluded.