The city legislative body urged concerned sectors of the city to report on their findings, observations and recommendations on the request of the city chief executive to extend the closure of the ascending portion of Session Road to continue to experiment on the pedestrianization of a portion of the city’s main thoroughfare.
Representatives of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO), business groups, transport associations, among others, are expected to appear during the regular session of the city legislative body on Monday, January 20, 2020 to give their inputs on the proposed continued closure of the ascending portion of Session Road every Sunday as part of the efforts of the city government to pedestrianize the same.
Earlier, Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong requested the city legislative body to extend the closure of the ascending portion of Session Road based on the reported success of the said closure that ran through September to December last year with more positive feedbacks than negative ones.
City legislators want to listen to the plight of the directly and indirectly affected sectors, especially their findings, observations and recommendations, on the closure of the ascending portion of Session Road before approving or denying the request of the city chief executive to extend the said closure.
Some of the affected sectors, particularly the transport sector, urged the city government not to extend the closure of the ascending portion of Session Road due to their observations that it causes traffic congestion that extends up to other major roads in the different parts of the city where their passengers are allegedly irritated and irked on the delays in their travel to their desired destinations in the city.
Further, some of the suggestions from the concerned sectors is to put a stop on the conduct of the chalk art activities because the chalk that is used to make drawings pollute the city’s air which contradicts the supposed purpose of the closure, which is to reduce the pollution on the said portion of the road.
Among the positive feedbacks from the concerned sectors include the fact that people can freely walk along the portion of the city’s main road, people enjoy the various activities conducted every Sunday and that there is an added area in the central business district where family members can bond by walking around the closed portion of the main road.
Initially, the city legislative body approved Ordinance No. 65, series of 2019, that closed the ascending portion of Session Road for 4 Sundays as an experiment for its possible pedestrianization but the same was extended up to December last year following the clamor of the public to extend the said closure.
The city legislative body is expected to act on the request of the city chief executive to further extend the closure of the ascending portion of Session Road to allow the continuation of the experimental period provided under existing laws, rules and regulations on the conduct of experimental traffic schemes which is up to a maximum of 6 months. Depending on the outcome of consultations, the same may be declared as permanent or revert back to the original traffic scheme.
By Dexter A. See
Photo: Costume plays like this Transformer were regular features during the closure of Session Road in 2019. Photo by Armando M. Bolislis