The holiday rush is officially upon us, which means more traffic on the road, as well as congested roadways particularly near shopping centers and malls. To combat the looming traffic that will plague Metro Manila during the holidays, the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (I-ACT) recently released five  action plans.

This was announced during a meeting of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development which is chaired by Rep. Winston Castelo of the 2nd District of Quezon City. Also present was Rep. Manuel Luiz Lopez of the 1st District of Manila.

Under the 'Traffic Management Plan 2018 Christmas Season', the anti-traffic plan will consist of the following: (1) enforcement operations, (2) moratorium on all utility works and road works from Decemer 1, 2018 to January 9, 2019, (3) suspension of road closures for special events like fiestas, fun runs and concerts, (4) upholding the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) or number coding from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM, (5) and monitoring mall operations during the holiday rush.

During enforcement operations, government agencies are recommended to carry out anti-illegal parking operations in all Mabuhay Lanes, conduct sidewalk clearing operations, apprehend colorum vehicles, and enforce traffic laws. As for mall operations, I-ACT recommended to suspend mall-wide sales every Friday, deploy additional traffic enforcers near malls, only allow mall deliveries between 12:00 AM to 6:00 AM and have traffic management plans at the ready.

I-ACT, MMDA, HPG gear up for holiday rush

Also part of the traffic plan is the PNP-HPG which are tasked to counter traffic during the holiday season. Such operations include deployment of road safety marshalls along major thoroughfares to prevent gridlock, ensure road worthiness of public transporation (in coordination with I-ACT and other gov't agencies), mobilize roadside assistance for motorists, and intensify anti-carnapping and anti-hijacking operations.

Retired General Manuel Gonzales, head of I-ACT, stated that they have already coordinated the plans with the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), as well as with 17 local government units (LGUs) and PNP-HPG.

Castelo stated that the success of the Mabuhay Lanes will depend on the support of LGUs since most of these roads are narrow. Meanwhile, Lopez said that government agencies have to decongest the usual choke points along EDSA to ensure smooth flow of traffic. These choke points include SM North EDSA and Trinoma, EDSA Shaw Blvd, EDSA Shangri-La and SM Megmall, and EDSA Taft.