Think you're the only one who needs a diet after all the feasting this holiday season? Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is suggesting a 'road diet' also for EDSA, the metro's major thoroughfare. Their new plan hopes to hasten (or maybe confuse) traffic flow along EDSA.

Under their proposed scheme, new lanes will be added by making the existing lanes narrower. Currently, EDSA has five lanes in both directions that each measure 3.4 meters wide. If ever the MMDA implements the road diet scheme, each lane will be reduced to 2.8 meters. This will allow the MMDA to adjust both the lane markers, as well as road markers in order for them to add more lanes.

According to MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago, there will be no road construction to be done along EDSA. Instead, the MMDA will re-adjust the road markers in order to accommodate the additional lanes in both directions. In addition, the MMDA expects that the 'road diet' scheme will increase EDSA's vehicle capacity to 6,000 more vehicles in both north- and southbound lanes.

But road safety advocate, the Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP) voiced their concerns over the proposed road diet. Augusto Lagman, president of AAP, stated that our lanes are already narrow as it is compared to other countries which could lead to more road accidents.

However, the MMDA was quick to state that the new road scheme was studied carefully and was based off a World Resources Institute (WRI) study. Based on the study itself, cities that have lanes that only measure 2.8 meters wide have lesser crash fatalities per 100,000 residents (1.3 – 3.2 fatality rate) compared to cities that make use of wider lanes (6.1 – 11.8 fatality rate per 100,000 residents). Such cities that use narrow lanes include Tokyo, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin and Toronto.

Moreover, the study also explained that wider lanes tend to make drivers go faster, which also increases the risks of crashes and injuries. Narrower lanes could also help city engineers and developers build wider sidewalks, as well as bike lanes.

For now, the MMDA have already submitted their proposal to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and is awaiting approval of the proposed traffic scheme.