Bus proposal for Cebu gains Support

Bus Rapid Transport Cebu City
Integrated Transport Planning Managing Director Colin Brader shows the flow of traffic around Fuente Osmeña once the Bus Rapid Transport system is in place. (Arni Aclao)

CEBU CITY — The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system for this city is on its last two months of consultation before the feasibility study will be completed.

Colin Brader, the urban planner from Integrated Transport Planning, the consultancy firm for the BRT, told the Movement for Livable Cebu (MLC) that Osmeña Blvd. is the most feasible area for the system.

Brader made a presentation with MLC on Tuesday, following the group’s request that V. Rama be made the major street where the BRT will pass through.

Joel Lee of MLC explained that Osmeña Blvd. is a heritage and showcase area for Cebu City and that a mass transport system may destroy its view.

He cited as example the possibility that the view of the Capitol building facade might be blocked.

Destination
Brader showed MLC and a couple of other youth groups the difference between V. Rama and Osmeña Blvd. and the advantages of the latter.

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For one, about 2,800 vehicles pass through Osmeña Blvd. compared to V. Rama’s 1,300. The latter is mostly residential while the former is more commercial.

MLC believes that because V. Rama is more of a residential area, then a good number of people will be serviced by the bus.

Brader, though, explained that it is not just about the starting point but also about the destination.

“The significance of Osmeña Blvd. is that it is a major destination,” he said.

The area also has the support of the barangay officials of Sambag I, Sambag II, Santa Cruz, San Antonio, Capitol Site and Camputhaw.

After consulting with MLC last Tuesday and the persons with disabilities last Monday, Brader and BRT point person Maricon Encabo of the Cebu City Government are set to consult the 14 barangays that will benefit from the project.

Brader said that so far, there has been no opposition to the program.

Downtown
Another important reason why Osmeña Blvd. is a better option, he said, is that using it for the BRT can help revitalize the downtown area, with Citilink as the ferry point. People will get down at Citilink and ride jeepneys to the downtown area.

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The BRT is planned to start in Bulacao through N. Bacalso then turn to Osmeña Blvd., pass through Escario St. and go straight to Talamban.

As the feasibility study is expected to be concluded by August, a detailed design is expected to begin in October, to be completed in May.

The detailed design will provide the specifics of the BRT system like the road network, stops and intervals.

Proponents are aiming for an October 2013 start, and if all goes according to plan, the system may be operational by 2015.

Brader is just thankful that even if the political climate in Cebu City is heating up, the BRT system was never affected.

Brader started working on the BRT when Tomas Osmeña (now Cebu City, south district congressman) was mayor of the city three years ago. Now, he finds himself in close contact with Mayor Michael Rama or his representative for the smooth implementation of the project.

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Future
Brader said that Osmeña Blvd. also has wider roads compared to V. Rama and has a better transition road going to Escario St. compared to V. Rama’s M. Velez St.

Lee also asked how the project will affect the sidewalks along Osmeña Blvd. that have been improved by the Beautiful Cebu Movement Foundation Inc.

Brader did not totally discount V. Rama, saying, “Maybe it will be a good route in the future.”

By July, the BRT will have an exhibition in major malls in Cebu City so that regular people, those not attached to any organizations, can make their sentiments known on the BRT system.

Lee was satisfied with the explanation of Brader and commented that the BRT is a good project for Cebu City.

He also commended the massive consultation done by the Brader’s firm in coordination with the Cebu City Government, comparing it to the flyover projects that did not go through public consultation. (JGA/Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 20, 2012.

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