Sunday, January 30

Commonwealth Avenue “Killer Highway”

The Commonwealth Avenue has been tagged as “The Killer Highway” for quite some time because of the greatest number of road crashes among motorists as well as pedestrians resulting to remarkable number of deaths that happen along this corridor. 24 January 2010 Monday, however, marked the start of the MMDA campaign to introduce some traffic regulations and monitoring to improve and lessen the number of road accidents in Commonwealth Avenue.

Prior to the campaign, Commonwealth Avenue is a 9-lane wide and very long stretch of corridor where vehicles are free to move, swerve, and travel at desired speeds. There were few designated bus/jeepney stops, pedestrian overpass, and several u-turn slots which were not strictly followed by road users. Notable accidents that have occured involved motorcycles, buses, private cars and jaywalkers run over by vehicles. It is important to note that the high occurence of road accidents here may be due to lack of traffic regulations and monitoring on the part of concerned government agencies, lack of discipline among motorists, inadeaquacy in the physical design and signages of the road, and several other factors.

The MMDA, this week, introduced several changes both in the physical design and traffic regulation, monitoring and management. The physical improvements include a yellow lane on the two outermost lanes designated for PUVs/PUJs, the five middle lanes are for private cars and the two innermost lanes will be used to access the U-turn slots. A speed limit of 60kph was also imposed for the motorists. Several traffic enforcers using speed guns were assigned at certain parts of the corridor to monitor and apprehend overspeeding motorists.

It is hoped that through these improvements the Commonwealth Avenue will no longer be tagged as the killer highway. Yet better and safer road environment will only be achieved when the motorists comply and whole-heartedly follow the traffic rules and regulations, the MMDA, with utmost integrity, would maintain good physical design with adequate signages and continue in its traffic monitoring and implementation, and the pedestrians will only use the pedestrian overpass in crossing the highway. Assessments should also be done six months or a year after the implementation to measure the effectiveness of the changes introduced.

Would the improvements really change the nickname, “killer highway,” to something like “safest highway”? It is surely worth noting in the future what Commonwealth Avenue had become when all stakeholders actively have taken part to make it better and safer road corridor. Till the next post on Commonwealth Avenue!

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