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BAGUIO CITY – The city legislative body deferred action on the request of Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong to extend the closure of the ascending portion of Session Road to vehicular traffic considering the numerous issues that must have to be addressed by concerned offices of the city government and to decide whether the same will only be for pedestrianization or to allow the conduct of activities.
Further, city legislators decided to provide a copy of the transcript of the proceedings of the regular session last Monday to the city chief executive for him to be guided on what future actions to take on the proposed extension of the closure of the ascending portion of Session road and for him to be appraised on the issues and concerns raised either in favor or against the said proposal.
The council directed the Baguio City Police Office–Traffic Enforcement Unit (BCPO-TEU) to provide a comprehensive report on the effects of the closure of the ascending portion of Session road to the traffic in the adjoining roads and the sentiments of the transport sector and the riding public on the effect of the closure to their daily routine considering the numerous negative comments from private and public utility drivers on the prolonged traffic experiment.
Some members of the council also required the report to reflect the true sentiment of the business sector on the traffic experiment considering there were issues raised in the conduct of selling activities along the closed portion of Session Road as these were reportedly allowed without paying to the city government the corresponding regulatory fees which is also against the standing policy that roads are beyond the commerce of man.
While it is true that the pollution along the ascending portion of Session Road might have been reduced with the traffic experiment that ran from September to December last year, city legislators raised the issue the pollution might have transferred to the places where vehicles converged, thus, the same must also be supported by appropriate reports for their assessment, evaluation and decision.
After the City Chief Executive and concerned offices shall have submitted their comprehensive reports on the traffic experiment, city legislators insinuated the same will have to pass through the conduct of public hearings to get the real sentiments of the people of the city on further extending the traffic experiment before coming out with a definite action on the same.
The city legislative body stipulated the City Mayor should decide on whether to close the ascending portion of Session road purposely for pedestrianization or use the closed portion of the road for various activities that are not directly in competition with prevailing operations in the different parts of the central business district.
Last year, the city legislative body approved the closure of the ascending portion of Session road every Sunday from September to December primarily to pedestrianize the same and allow people to use it to walk or allow certain activities which should not compete with existing business activities around the city.
The council stated it will await the comprehensive reports from the concerned offices of the city government before deciding on future actions to take on the said proposal.
By Dexter A. See