By Anna Liza Vilas-Alavaren
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (IACT) has decided to enforce the removal of “window hours” rule of the number coding scheme on October 17, two weeks earlier than set October 31 schedule.
Tim Orbos, MMDA General Manager, said the dry run to test the no “window hours” rule from 10 am to 3 pm will be implemented on Wednesday to Friday.
During the three-day dry run, Highway Patrol Group and MMDA traffic enforcers manning roads will conduct an information campaign. They will not issue traffic violation tickets on violators but only remind them of the rule.
Aside from Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (Edsa) and C5, the rule will be expanded to other areas, including Alabang-Zapote Road, Roxas Boulevard and whole Mandaluyong City. Cities of the Makati and Las Pinas do not implement window hours. (MMDA said that crossing in Alabang-Zapote Road will be allowed, meaning that if you need to cross from the other side — BF Resort to Casimiro, for example, then you will not be apprehended – Ed)
“The earlier enforcement of the rule was based on the request of the IACT to reduce vehicular traffic as Christmas nears. This is for the immediate effect of the reduction as traffic is foreseen to worsen toward Christmas,” said Orbos.
Neomie Recio, MMDA Traffic Engineering Center, said they expect 18-20 percent reduction in vehicle volume along Edsa with the removal of the window hours.
“During 6-7 pm peak hour, around 7,716 cars are traversing Edsa. With the 20 percent cut, we can keep off 1,500 vehicles on the road, equivalent to one lane,” said Recio.
However, the agency also anticipates a 20 percent increase in the number of vehicles plying Edsa this Christmas season.
Recio admitted that there will be a break-even in the vehicular flow but noted that the scrapping of the window hour rule is just one of the solutions the agency is looking at.
“If we will not do anything about it, what will happen to motorists and commuters on the road, imagine the traffic flow.”
Orbos advised motorists to use arterial roads particularly the identified Mabuhay lanes.
IACT chief traffic officer and HPG director Senior Supt. Antonio Gardiola said they are now intensifying clearing of illegally parked vehicles along Mabuhay lanes.
The IACT shall assess the impact of the measure and determine whether it created a positive impact in alleviating traffic congestion in the metropolis.
The assessment shall be submitted to the Metro Manila Council, composed of Metro Manila mayors, who can decide the measure will be implemented permanently.
“If it’s effective, it will be decided by the council,” said Orbos.
Under the number coding scheme, vehicles are banned from major roads from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. except during 10 am to 3 pm window hours.
Under the current system, vehicles with plate numbers ending in 1 and 2 are not allowed outside on Mondays, 3 and 4 on Tuesdays, 5 and 6 on Wednesdays, 7 and 8 on Thursdays and 9 and 0 on Fridays.