Council seeks suspension of P50M bike lane
The city council during the regular session last Monday passed a resolution requesting the Baguio City Bids and Awards Committee for Infrastructure to hold in abeyance the awarding of the contract for the Phase 1 of the bicycle lane project worth 50 million pesos.
This, after the council learned that the recent guidelines of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) were not considered in the preparation of the plan.
Engr. Orlando Genove of the CEO disclosed the project had already been bidded out, but the contract was not awarded yet to the winning bidder.
The DPWH-Baguio City District Engineering Office (DPWH-BCDEO) received a memorandum on July 3, 2021 from the DPWH-CAR directing all district engineers to consider the Updated Guidelines and Standard Drawings for Bicycle facilities in the design of national roads for the installation of bike lanes.
The DPWH-BCDEO furnished the city council with a copy of the updated guidelines.
Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan said the plan prepared by the CEO should conform with the said guidelines.
Genove said the plan was patterned after the earlier guidelines of the DWPH contained in Department Order No. 88 Series of 2020 (Prescribing Guidelines on the Design of Bicycle Facilities along National Roads).
However, DPWH-BCDEO District Engineer Rene Zarate and Engr. Cesario Rillera also of the DPWH-BDEO asserted the updated guidelines should be primarily considered.
Under the updated guidelines, prior to the installation of bicycle facilities, a feasibility study shall be undertaken by the concerned office to determine their applicability on the proposed roads.
Several members of the council questioned the move of the CEO to bid the project out without conducting any feasibility study.
The councilors emphasized the importance of conducting a feasibility study to ensure the safety of both cyclists and motorists when the bicycle facilities are already installed and ready to be utilized.
Furthermore, under the updated guidelines, there are three classes of bike lanes. These are Shared Use Path which is completely separated from the roadway, Separated Bike Lane which is a portion of the roadway designated exclusively for bicycle use, and Shared Roadway.
According to the DPWH-BCDEO, only the third class, Shared Roadway, is applicable to the roads in Baguio City.
A shared roadway is a portion of the road that has been officially designated and marked as a bicycle route but can also be used by motor vehicles as there is a limited carriageway width.
Under the plan prepared by the CEO, shared roadways with a total distance of 6.45 km and separated bike lanes with a total distance of 7.25 km have been designated along the six identified routes.
This does not conform with the prescription of the updated guidelines as portions of the proposed roads are designated as separated bike lanes which, acording to the DPWH-BCDEO officials, are not applicable to the city’s roads.
Councilor Mylen Yaranon, however, commended the CEO for having planned ahead. She said the CEO already started planning for the installation of bike lanes using certain design standards as their starting points prior to the crafting and issuance of guidelines by the DPWH.
The council further requested the CEO to present to the legislative body the city’s modified plan for the installation of bike lanes taking into consideration guidelines and requirements set forth by the DPWH for national roads and suggestions of barangay officials on barangay roads.
The routes identified for the Phase 1 of the project are the following:
Loakan-Apugan Barangay Hall to Leonard Wood Road; BGH Rotonda to Panagbenga Park via Military Cut-off; Justice Hall to Kalaw Street via Harrison Road; Governor Pack to BGH Rotonda; Harrison Road to M. Roxas via Magsaysay Street/ Bonifacio Street; and City Hall to Marcos Highway via Legarda Road.** Jordan G. Habbiling