Mass Transit Updates (Just In Time For Election Season)

As you all know by now, the Urban Roamer does not hide the fact how much he loathes current transportation priorities of this government, most especially the policies (or the lack of it) and the ineptitude of the current leadership of our Transportation Department, headed by that guy we all love to strangle, Sec. Joseph Emilio (P)Abaya. From taking too long to get some mass transit lines started to his stupidity on the Common Station issue, his history of making failed decision-making skills is appalling to say the least.

Thanks or no thanks to him, at least we are seeing some sort of progress as far as the mass transit line front is concerned. Then again, it is convenient that we are only seeing such progress just in time for election year, and you know what that implies. Nevertheless, we take what we can get and such small victories are appreciated as something is finally happening. Not much admittedly, but it is something still.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: LINE 2 EAST EXTENSION

One of those developments is the actual construction of the Line 2 East Extension that extends the eastern portion of Line 2 from Santolan in Pasig to Masinag in Antipolo City in Rizal. At this time of writing, concrete posts are being built along the stretch of Marcos Highway starting from Masinag. Considering this is just a short extension that would be built, (just about 2.5 kilometers actually, which makes the delay of its construction so infuriating, but let’s not dwell on that anymore) we can expect the line to be completed by next year, 2017.

photo courtesy of Skyscrapercity (http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1843930&page=13)

On a personal note, this is the project I have long been anticipating and is quite close to my heart considering I now take up residence in the eastern area and such a line would be of great benefit.

ALL SYSTEMS GO IT SEEMS FOR LINE 7

Another development that has finally seemed to have gotten off after years of delay is the construction of the mass transit Line 7 which would run from San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan up to North Avenue in Quezon City. This is after the builder and operator of the planned Line 7, the San Miguel Corporation-backed Universal LRT Corporation BVI Limited (ULC) completed early this year the financial requirements to get the project rolling.

Line 7 and the planned stations; image courtesy of bahay.ph

At this time of writing, at least some preliminary road work is being done on some parts of the road network Line 7 will follow. While in other places, there have been signages which mark the construction of future stations at these places.

photo courtesy of Skyscrapercity (http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=1897971&page=7)

Line 7 will mostly follow the alignment of the Araneta-Quirino Highway-Regalado-Commonwealth-North Avenue road network, with the northern end of the line at the planned San Jose Del Monte Intermodal Terminal and the other end at the proposed, controversial, and yet-to-be-resolved North Avenue Common Station near the premises of SM City North EDSA.

LINE 4 HITS A SNAG

 

Despite these developments, there are some serious snags that need to be addressed on the part of the (P)Abaya administration of the Transportation Department. Then again, that should not be a surprise. One of them concerns the construction of the planned Line 4 network. Apparently, the Mandaluyong City is mad at (P)Abaya and the Transportation Department for “hijacking” the plans for Line 4. You see, the Line 4 plans were originally part of a transit system plan done by Japan’s Transportation Ministry that was COMMISSIONED BY THE MANDALUYONG CITY GOVERNMENT and no involvement of our Transportation Department whatsoever.

The plan originally called for a transit line that will run from Santa Mesa district in Manila all the way to Taytay, with two routes recommended as possible paths of the line:

Option 1– Santa Mesa station will be located near the PNR Santa Mesa station, following the Lubiran-Aglipay-Shaw Boulevard-Pioneer alignment then follows the Sheridan-ADB Avenue alignment then turning right and follow the Ortigas Avenue-Ortigas Avenue Extension-Manila East Road alignment to the terminal station in Taytay

Option 2– Santa Mesa station will be located near the Line 2 V. Mapa station, following the V. Mapa-P. Sanchez-Shaw Boulevard alignment then turning left at ADB Avenue then turning right and follow the Ortigas Avenue-Ortigas Avenue Extension-Manila East Road alignment to the terminal station in Taytay.

Now there’s also another route studies which follows the whole Ortigas Avenue alignment and the other terminal station will be located near the Gilmore Line 2 station but it was deemed to be less beneficial.

The original Japanese Transport Ministry proposal for Line 4 and its possible alignments; the ministry recommended either Option 1 or Option 2 alignment as beneficial though they lean more to Option 2 because it will connect the existing Lines 1 and 3. You can read the whole study here from which this image is based: http://www.meti.go.jp/meti_lib/report/2015fy/000292.pdf

The original Japanese Transport Ministry proposal for Line 4 and its possible alignments; the ministry recommended either Option 1 or Option 2 alignment as beneficial though they lean more to Option 2 because it will connect the existing Lines 1 and 3. You can read the whole study here from which this image is sourced: http://www.meti.go.jp/meti_lib/report/2015fy/000292.pdf

What is more noteworthy about the study of the Japanese Transportation Ministry is with regards to its recommendation to the system that will be used here. Apparently, what it recommended was the Automated Guideway Transport (AGT) system which is kinda like a light rail system but it does not use railway tracks but rather what is called a “guideway” which “guides” the vehicle on its path. Not to mention, they do not cost as much as light rail or full rail systems as well.

However, (P)Abaya’s Transportation Department interfered and “repackaged” the project as Line 4 which will utilize a light rail system instead of an AGT system. What’s worse, the (P)Abaya version of the line will only run from the area near the EDSA-Ortigas Avenue intersection up to Taytay, ignoring the people of Mandaluyong and Manila who were supposed to benefit as well in the original plan, not to mention ignoring the original plan itself. You can imagine Mandaluyong’s sentiments considering they made so much effort in planning this line and then the (P)Abaya department just comes in and hijacks it for the sake of “cost-efficiency.

The Urban Roamer believes with most of the people in the metropolis that the best way to go is to follow the original plans put forth by the Japanese transport ministry and for the (P)Abaya administration of the Transportation department to STAY AWAY AND STOP MEDDLING. Gah, the Urban Roamer cannot wait for (P)Abaya and his ilk to get out of Transport department by July because they are simply the detriment and the bane that is causing all this mess in our transport system. Enough with the stupidity and incompetence already!

Acknowledgements as well to Rappler and BusinessMirror

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