Sidewalks are for people, roads are for cars. Unfortunately, that's not always the case.

Sometimes, sidewalks would become clogged due to makeshift shops and parked cars, forcing pedestrians to walk on the road. In an effort to lessen or totally eliminate that problem, Rep. Robert Ace Barbers (2nd District, Surigao del Norte) has authored House Bill 504. HB 504, also known as the “Sidewalks and Public Roads Use Act”, seeks to regulate the use of sidewalks and public roads in urban areas.

If it's approved HB 504 prohibits the following:

-The building of any edifice, stall, and other similar structures on sidewalks

-Putting up any business and other forms of obstruction on walkways

-Leaving garbage and other junk materials at the side of the road

-Engaging in ambulant vending

-Other acts that tend to impede or obstruct the use of sidewalks which are meant to service pedestrians

HB 504 also states that sidewalks can be used temporarily and for those seeking to do business may apply for a special permit. Again, the government states that this is only for a temporary permit and must be taken done once the contract is over. That way, the sidewalk will remain clear as to not force pedestrians to walk on the road which puts them in harm's way.

Besides clearing out the sidewalks, HB 504 aims to make roads clear of illegally parked cars on main thoroughfares. Barbers mentioned who do not have parking spaces at home use the streets as their parking lots.

He also added business establishments which do not have ample parking spaces using the roads as parking lots for their vehicles and those of their clients. The congressman stated that the situations mentioned above further impede traffic flow. “Traffic in urban areas result in economic losses amounting to billions of pesos yearly. Should these road obstructions be cleared, traffic flow will ease and a more robust economy will result,” said Barbers.

The new bill specifically states 'it shall be unlawful to use public roads for parking, business, public utility terminals, and any other activity that tend to impede the flow of traffic.' “Adding to the already chaotic situation is the proliferation of terminals of public utility vehicles. Our roads are not built for such purposes and the taxpayers have all the right to complain,” added Barbers.