Waze, a community based traffic and navigation app, conducted a survey recently to find out which countries and cities from around the world were the worst places to be a driver. Good news, the Philippines wasn’t the worst country in the world to be a driver… We came in second, right behind El Salvador. In terms of cities though, well, Cebu came in as the worst place to be a driver.
I don’t have any experience with traffic in Cebu, I haven’t even been there, but the traffic situation has been getting worse here in Davao. In addition to some roads being in a state of disrepair (I swear there’s always some road being fixed, but it never seems to be the ones that need it most), there seems to always be a few intersections where the traffic lights don’t work. This causes a lot of confusion and a huge traffic jam that cars have to slowly crawl through. A few months back, while my Dad was in the hospital, I visited him to bring some stuff (food and the like). On the way home, I decided to walk. While walking, I took note of a red jeepney, and as I was walking, I realized I was leaving it behind. It reminded me of the opening scene from Office Space where the main character is stuck in traffic on the way to work, he notices an old man walking and by the time the old man has walked several meters, the main character has barely moved.
Quite a few years ago, the Bankerohan bridge was damaged. This bridge was, and still is, one of the few ways to get across the river, which is used by several jeepney routes and gets tons of traffic. The only other ways across that were convenient enough was the Bolton bridge and a small bridge near our old house in Marfori. Traffic started being redirected through Maa, over that bridge and through Marfori. Our house just happened to be on the main road of Marfori and when traffic started coming through, our normally quiet street became really loud and full. After the bridge was fixed, the traffic was still bad in that area. Even now, whenever I go through there, traffic is still fairly heavy.
There have been attempts to improve traffic flow. Some sections of Quimpo Blvd were widened, but even though the roads have been widened, some electric poles are now on the road and the extra lane is now used as a parking space. Ateneo high school made a parking building because the small side street (which is where a lot of people drop off their kids) was full of parked cars, making the already narrow street even narrower. They now have no parking signs all along the road, but there are still a few cars that are parked.
Eventually, the traffic problem is going to have to be addressed, but I don’t really even know what they would do about it. I think a good start would be to move all the electric lines underground, like they did near city hall. With all the poles that are either on the street or close to it, moving them would slightly improve the traffic and if they also make sure no one parks along the side of the road, it would be more effective. Fixing the traffic lights and maintaining them would also drastically help.