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Which city is home to 530,000 people during evenings but has a 3.7 million-strong population during the day?!?

Its vehicular population also increases to around 600,000 inside the city and 2.1 million passing through its major thoroughfares, which means a mind-boggling 2.7 million vehicles putting a strain on the city’s infrastructure in a single day and presenting constant challenges to both national and city-level governing and administrative bodies. It is Makati City, and these population facts form the premise upon which the Makati City Transport and Traffic Summit 2013 was organized.

The beginning of this month saw the summit held at the Makati City Hall with the theme Green Mobility 2023: Moving Transport Development Directions Toward a Safer and Environmentally Sustainable Goal. The last traffic summit before this one was held almost a decade ago, so you can imagine how big a deal it was for Makati city.

Compared to its predecessor, this summit was accompanied by an exhibit of products and best practices on green mobility and green transport technology held at the city hall’s quadrangle. The opening ceremonies were held in the middle of the exhibit, with Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay, Jr. giving the welcome remarks. Towards the end of his speech, Mayor Junjun Binay recalled how the word “mall” used to refer to a large open and shaded public space where people can congregate – people, and not cars – reminding the summit participants that in the end, a city should be built for people to live in.

iCSC_Makati Transport Summit 1_RG

That’s Darna, the first domestically-manufactured eJeepney, behind Mayor Binay during the summit opening ceremonies.

The rest of the summit was filled with presentations on traffic and land use planning, pedestrianization initiatives, traffic management including traffic technologies and traffic information systems, road works updates, air pollution monitoring, and initiatives from the barangays and development organizations. While Makati leads in terms of parking and building regulations, pedestrian-friendly development through walkways and wide

sidewalks, traffic technologies, and green transport options like our very own ejeepneys and hybrid-electric buses, these have yet to s over from the central business district areas into the rest of the city and into the road networks leading to other cities or other transport forms. To illustrate this, a commuter pointed out during a session that while the sidewalks are fantastic in Buendia, once one gets to the Buendia MRT station the sidewalk narrows into a one-person lane without ample lighting and proper access facilities for persons with disabilities.

Breakout sessions on the different transport issues were also held. I attended the Sustainable Urban Transport session, and while two hours was definitely not enough to discuss sustainable transport initiatives, it was good to hear that transport concerns definitely include those of the pedestrians and commuters, and not just of the motorists. All the inputs from the sessions will be considered in the formulation of the 2013-2023 Makati City Green Mobility Road Map.

Another unforgettable moment, if not one of the highlights, of the summit was a lively demonstration of traffic hand and body signals by the yellow-uniformed MAPSA enforcers, to the tune of Psy’s “Gentleman” – staying true to the Philippines’ reputation as a country of dancing prisoners and traffic enforcers *wink*.

Mother, Father, Gentleman.

Mother, Father, Gentleman.

 

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