When schools are open, the streets of Metro Manila are jammed with vehicles. Traffic snarls worsen during the rainy season, and traffic is often at a standstill during floods. After the floods, potholes are filled, and the patchwork repairs mean a resumption of heavy traffic. During the Christmas holiday break, there is no respite from traffic snarls amid the shopping rush and partying.
Finally, summer rolls in, schools close and motorists get a break. Right? Not anymore. In the past weeks, traffic has crawled in many parts of Metro Manila, with one of the worst jams experienced the other day in the western section, as roads are repaired and public utilities undertake road diggings.
Some civil engineers have said that the sturdiest pavements are those laid at high temperatures, so summer is the best time for road repairs. After all the traffic grief in recent days, in the middle of the summer vacation, the public can only hope that the repairs will be different this time and will withstand the first heavy downpour. The Department of Public Works and Highways, which is undertaking the repairs, should make sure the contractor of every segment is identified and can be held accountable in case the pavement disintegrates in the first heavy rain.
Substandard roads, aggravated by the lack of road courtesy and discipline among drivers, surely contributed to the ranking of Manila as the third worst city in the world for driving. The non-scientific study was conducted by CNNGo, travel website of Cable News Network. The website noted that Filipinos were aware of the problem, ranking it high among their concerns, and the awareness could lead to a solution.
The CNNGo list was topped by Beijing and New Delhi; Bangkok was not among the worst 10. The Thai capital used to be plagued by horrendous traffic jams. Its absence from the top 10 worst cities for driving shows that the problem can be addressed effectively. People in Metro Manila are still waiting for similar deliverance from their traffic woes.