Bacolod City is one of the emerging metropolitan areas in the Philippines. The city is also known as the City of Smiles and is home of the Masskara festival, one of the most celebrated event in the country. I am proud to be born in this small city and as I grew up, I saw how the city improved from small supermarkets to local super malls. Even though the city is not as developed as Toronto, New York, and other cities alike, it is capable of providing sufficient needs for its inhabitants.
‘As the city progresses, the population within the area also increases which is why the major problem nowadays in Bacolod City is the traffic congestions caused by road constructions, increasing number of vehicles and inactive traffic lights. As of May 2010, the population of Bacolod City is 511,820 people. Two-thirds of its population are of voting age which is 18 years old. Also, half of the population is employed which means that approximately 255,000 people are hitting the road everyday. It is reported that the city has 45,275 vehicles as of 2010 and is still increasing.
Bacolod City has a land area of 162.7 square kilometres which is 1.3% of it belongs to the commercial areas and 9.5% belongs to the residential areas. Having a small area for commercial purposes shows how easy it is for traffic jams to occur during peak hours where there are 241,059 vehicle trips per day. Traffic congestions are just the by product of inevitable situations like increasing of population, road widening and pedestrians. As the city adapts itself to the 21st century, there are moments where the people living in it lags down due to financial and economic instances of the city itself.
Traffic is a challenge that people who commute to work and school face everyday and having to experience that makes me realize how much time was wasted just by going back and forth to whatever the destination is. Aside from that, it also causes the increase of pollution within the city. During the months of May to August, the average temperature in the country reaches from 28 to 32 degrees celsius. Having that much humidity together with the heat coming from different vehicles makes commuting a hard task especially during noon time.
Moreover, having too many vehicles on the road without proper traffic management can be risky to pedestrians. As for someone who lived there, I grew up not knowing the basic traffic rules aside from red means stop and green means go. This is an increasing problem for everyone since traffic rules are not strictly implemented which also triggers congestions.
These days, the most common cause of traffic congestions in the city is due to road constructions mainly for covering potholes and widening purposes. Ever since I can remember, there would be road works in whatever route I take from home to school and it happens all the time during rush hours. Mainly because it is the typical working hours which also coincides with people rushing to and from different places in the city. Potholes are common in main roads that connects to other cities since heavy trucks that transport sugar cane passes through it every night. It causes difficulty for people who are driving at night since only a few street lights are completely lit which is risky especially those who are riding motorcycles.
Nowadays, highways are being constructed in major roads which is becoming a big issue to busses and other vehicles that crosses the city. Apart from road constructions, over population of cars in the road is also becoming a huge problem. In the city of Bacolod, there are approximately six types of vehicles such as jeepneys, taxis, tricycles, trysikads (bicycle operated tricycle), busses and private cars (including Uber). Imagining all of these types of vehicles in a two lane road will actually produce traffic over time.
In addition to that, pedestrians are also a source of trouble to the traffic. For the fact that pedestrian lanes and stop lights are lacking throughout the city makes people to jay-walk. This risky and dangerous act not only affects the pedestrians but also the vehicles around them. Lastly, idled cars and parked vendor carts on the side of the streets of the downtown area makes it difficult for jeepneys to stop and unload passengers. Which makes them stop at the middle of the road and causing for the flow of traffic to halt too.
The municipality is quick to do some actions however, the process of that action is the one that takes a long time just like constructions and implementations. The mayor of the city is the one that should be able to see what the city needs and how to improve it. Sometimes the officials do notice what’s wrong and immediately acts on it however, when the role comes down to whoever does the action makes the whole project a different thing. And this is where corruption and dishonesty comes in to place.
Accordingly, traffic congestions within the city continuously happens. Just like other cities in the world, Bacolod City is facing the most common problem for urban areas that are progressing economically. This certain issue is not easy to solve nevertheless, looking at other cities from other countries’ solutions can somehow bring suggestions to conquer the situation. One of my suggestions is to have a limited amount of cars to be bought or registered per year in the city. This solution is inspired by how Singapore controls its traffic due to a limited amount of road space within the country.
Through this, people can control the increasing number of cars that joins the road every year. More cars mean more traffic jams. Another suggestion is for the city of Bacolod to take over the public transportation mainly jeepneys. Just like how TTC is owned by the city of Toronto, Bacolod can also be able to make its own if they want to. It would be easier for them to control the number of vehicles for each routes since there are areas that only needs a few whereas others are congested.
For the mean time, what the locals can do is to strictly follow the implemented rules by the city. Presently, in the downtown area of Bacolod, traffic enforcers are issuing a fine of 100 pesos (approx. $2.39) to those who jay-walks and gets off of their cars in inappropriate areas. Additionally, the municipality should properly maintain the traffic lights in every intersection since it is the one that controls the traffic and having a reserved traffic enforcer during peak hours in case something goes wrong. Painting traffic signs and pedestrian lanes will be a solution to the problem, as well.