Commuting around the Metro isn't the easiest thing to do. While the government has been finding ways to make it a little more tolerable, there is still room for improvement. Take the EDSA bus lane for example.
First, the good parts: Buses no longer have to criss-cross with private motorists along the busy avenue. Also, they get to travel unimpeded, making it faster for the commuters to reach their destinations. Plus, the designated stops mean buses don't have to jockey for position to load passengers. However, the commuting experience can be further enhanced, according to Jay Acab.
Jay Acab is a creative web developer, so how is his line of work related to providing a more pleasant commute? Like city planners, web developers have the user experience in mind. The easier it is, the better for everyone.
So, what's his solution? It's rather drastic, but it might pay off if we're thinking about the long-term. Also, his proposal hits two birds with one stone: improving the commute experience while still retaining U-Turn slots.
“If I were to design a bus stop I would prioritize commuter experience. Instead of an overpass, I would put access on street level. So commuters won’t have to walk up a flight of stairs and go back down again when riding on and off the buses. Then the new shorter overpass will be for those who want to cross the other side,” said Acab. That also means the elderly and PWDs don't have to deal with stairs or elevators. To get to the buses, commuters will cross the street to get to the bus via a dedicated pedestrian lane.
But hold on, won't adding a pedestrian lane along EDSA slow down everyone? Now comes the radical solution. At each bus stop, the buses will stay at street level while private motorists will drive through an underpass. Think of it as something like the Quezon Boulevard underpass, which is the example presented by Acab. Unlike the Quezon Boulevard underpass, the street-level road will serve as the extra-wide pedestrian lane.
Some might say it's an expensive solution, but Acab has a valid argument for building these underpasses. “Sure, this will be costlier but building an overpass with escalators and factoring in its regular maintenance isn’t necessarily cheap”, said the designer.
Now for the U-turn slots, and Acab's proposal makes it possible to integrate these below the street-level bus stops. That means there's no need to close U-Turn slots along EDSA so private motorists don't have to drive far to turn around. Acab adds, “We have provided an open space – commuter-friendly bus stop, a U-turn slot that won’t interfere with the busway, a shorter pedestrian overpass for those crossing the other side, and an unimpeded private vehicle flow”.
City planning isn't an easy job, and you'll have to think not just years ahead, but decades in advance to get the best result. But we reckon Acab's ideas are worth considering if infrastructure and transport authorities want to future-proof the nation's roads. At the current population growth rate, these agencies need to come up with something fairly quickly.