Pia backs elevated walkways, bike lanes in the metro

Senator Pia S. Cayetano is fully supportive of the proposal to build elevated walkways and bike lanes along major roads in the country, stressing that this would help transform Philippine cities into sustainable communities. 

During her interpellation of Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri’s privilege speech on Tuesday (August 20), Cayetano stressed the importance of creating alternative mobility options in urban areas to reduce traffic congestion, improve people’s health, and preserve the environment.

“This is a necessity that millions and millions of [Filipinos] will appreciate,” Cayetano said in response to Zubiri’s suggestion to construct elevated walkways along EDSA for the use of pedestrians and bikers.

“These are the things that we would like to bring to our people’s consciousness. Making our communities livable will also help protect Filipino families’ health and well being,” she added. 

The senator has filed several measures in the 18th Congress towards this objective.

Senate Bill No.65 or the ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities Act’ directs local governments to ensure public access to social services, preferential use of renewable resources, efficient waste management systems, and reliable mass transport, among others.

Meanwhile, Senate Bill No.66 or the ‘Sustainable Transportation Act’ mandates the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to come up with a Sustainable Transport Action Plan that shall lay down the roadmap for national and local transportation systems throughout the country.

Apart from these, Cayetano filed the ‘National Bicycle Act of 2019,’ seeking to officially recognize bicycles as an alternative mode of transportation in the country. 

These measures, the senator stressed, are in line with the country’s commitment to the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

“The budget for these programs is really something that I feel is an absolute need,” Cayetano said, while expressing her plan to file a ‘Build, Build, Build’ counterpart program for non-motorized vehicles. 

A known biking enthusiast and triathlete, Cayetano has been encouraging local governments to put up additional protected bike lanes in their cities and municipalities, similar to Taguig City’s 5.58-kilometer bicycle lane along Laguna Lake Highway. #

During her interpellation on the speech of Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senator Pia Cayetano stressed the importance of creating alternative mobility options for people living and working in urban centers.

Biking senator files National Bicycle Act

Senator Pia S. Cayetano is pushing for a law that would officially recognize bicycles as an alternative and sustainable mode of transportation throughout the country.

A biking and fitness enthusiast, Cayetano has filed the ‘National Bicycle Act of 2019,’ which shall mandate the development of policies, infrastructure, and facilities to properly integrate bicycles as part of the public transportation system.

“It is time to change our mindset about traffic and find alternative means to move forward from this perennial problem,” Cayetano said of the yet unnumbered bill, which she filed among her second batch of measures for the 18thCongress.   

The returning senator said cycling not only offers an efficient means of mobility amid the daily traffic gridlock, but is also an affordable, environment-friendly, and healthy alternative to motor vehicles.

“We should do away with the old thinking that cars are for the rich and bikes are for the poor. Increasingly, we see more people coming to work on two wheels, young and old, from vendors to workers, professionals, and even executives,” the senator observed.

“Many startups are also switching to using bicycles, like courier and food delivery services. Biking is not just a means of leisure or past time, it has become a way of life for many Filipinos,” she added.   

Cayetano herself regularly uses a bike to visit and interact more directly with residents in urban communities and to reach far-flung towns and mountain villages in the provinces. She also joins triathlons and bike festivals that highlight local sports and eco-tourism. During the last electoral campaign, cycling groups joined the former Taguig City representative to promote her candidacy and advocacies through her ‘bicycle-cades.’  

The senator admitted that the major downside remains safety. “News and social media posts regularly report about bikers being sideswiped or ran over by undisciplined drivers of motor vehicles. And so this is one reason why we need to enact a national policy to ensure the protection of bikers,” she stressed.         

Under her bill, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), in coordination with local government units shall take the lead in designating bicycle lanes, which shall serve as exclusive passage for cyclists. Motor vehicles will be prohibited from being driven or parked on any bike lane. 

The bike lanes shall be separated by a physical barrier, whenever possible, and shall be clearly identified with signs or pavement markings. In cases where installation of a physical barrier is not feasible, the lane for bicycles shall be identified through reflectorized painted lines.

Bike promotion measures also include improvements on sidewalks, traffic calming and speed reduction, pedestrian and bicycle crossing, traffic signages covering bicycles, off-street pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and traffic diversion, among others.

Cayetano’s bill mandates all public places, government offices, schools, major business establishments, including malls, banks, restaurants, hospitals, and the like, to provide adequate racks for bike parking and other infrastructure as far as practicable.

Meanwhile, the private sector will be encouraged to develop counterpart infrastructure, facilities and programs to help promote biking. 

Aside from the Bicycle Act, Cayetano has also filed complementary measures, namely the Sustainable Transportation Act (SBN 65) and the Sustainable Cities and Communities Act (SBN 66).  #

Senator Pia Cayetano pedals at the three-meter-wide protected bike lane, which stretches throughout the Laguna Lake Highway (C6 Highway) from Taguig City going to Pasig City.