Save CEBU’s Trees 3: Greener Streets are Safer Streets
Welcome to Day 3 of “Save Cebu’s Trees”! Today we will learn why greener streets are safer streets. We will also try to answer the question “Would widening the road from Naga to Carcar really ease congestion?”
Greener Streets are Safer Streets
Info from ACTREES
Trees and landscape features are often perceived by trans- portation officials as a safety risk. However, evidence from national and local studies in the USA reveal that the inclusion of trees and other streetscape features may actually reduce crashes and injuries on roadways.
• Are safer.
• Cost less to maintain.
• Reduce traffic congestion.
• Mitigate air and noise pollution.
Community benefits from roadside landscapes:
Research done in several states in the USA has shown that motorists benefit from vertical features such as trees to gauge their speed.
Less maintenance costs.
All other factors equal, the condition of pavement on tree-shaded streets is better than on unshaded streets. In fact, shaded roads require significantly less maintenance and can save up to 60% of repaving costs over 30 years.
Human health effects from air pollution usually involve respiratory functions and can be quite severe. Studies show that trees and shrubs have the greatest impact at minimizing harmful automotive outputs. Not only are trees prettier to look at than asphalt and industrial areas, but also trees reduce noise pollution by acting as buffers. Let’s turn all highways into greenways. Read the recommendations for Roadside Green Infrastructure
Here are some of the most amazing tree-lined avenues and drives around the world:
Cedar Avenue of Nikkō
Guinness Book of World Records as the longest tree-lined avenue in the world (1996); it is the only cultural property designated by the Japanese Government as both a Special Historic Site and a Special Natural Monument. Read more
, Cruise the Cedar Avenue of Nikkō
Germany’s tree-lined Avenues Route, 2,900 km long
Stretching from the Baltic island of Ruegen in the north to the World Heritage Site of Reichenau Island on Lake Constance in the south. Running parallel to main roads it passes through the tree-lined avenues of some of the most beautiful areas of Germany, and ten of the federal states, forming a window onto glorious scenery and untouched landscapes that change with the seasons, and connect hundreds of years of cultural heritage. The ‘Deutsche Alleenstrasse’ is a plus point for the old ‘East Germany’ was that although in the West many avenues were replaced by new roads, lack of finances and resources meant that many historic houses and countless old avenues remained untouched on that side of the wall. Read more on germanpulse .
Watch video of ‘Deutsche Alleenstrasse’. Read about origins of the tree-lined boulevard. Learn about the history of the ‘avenue’ (landscape)
The HERITAGE ROADS of SINGAPORE
Arcadia Road, Lim Chu Kang Road, Mandai Road, Mount Pleasant Road and South Buona Vista Road. Singapore’s Heritage Roads Scheme protects these ‘green walls’ and ‘green tunnels’. Read more about Singapore’s Heritage Trees and Roads
, Watch this video.
Going back to our question..
“Would widening the road from Naga to Carcar really ease congestion?”
The GREENWAY of Naga-San Fernando-Carcar
Cebu’s last remaining natural heritage road
To answer that question let’s hear it from HNTB
, one of the USA’s largest road-building firms…via mlui.org
HNTB recently admitted something transportation advocates have argued for many years: “We can’t build our way out of traffic congestion.”
If anyone has an incentive to promote the benefits of new and wider roads, it’s these guys. But, they don’t. Instead they challenge our old assumptions that building more roads will ease traffic.
Here’s an excerpt from their latest newsletter (page 23):
“Conventional wisdom suggests that we simply need to build more capacity. Adding lanes, however, will never fully solve the congestion problem. When new general-purpose lanes are built, they immediately fill up. They may help compress rush hours slightly, but the congestion problem remains.”
The author also argues that, rather than build new roads, planners should focus on commuters traveling at peak times: (This is the solution they propose in the USA, this cannot apply to Cebu where people don’t ever want to pay toll) “because most cities experience gridlock during rush hours, rather than all day, priced managed lanes address specific congestion problems without saddling the city with overbuilt infrastructure that gets limited use most of the day.” The company argues for congestion pricing and price-managed lanes. Those are fees charged to motorists for roadway use, like a toll road.
Still, HNTB’s point is clear: We can’t build our way out of congestion. In fact, every 10 percent increase in road space generates a 10 percent increase in traffic within several years.
So what applies to the case of the Naga-Carcar Highway here:
1. as we heard from the experts at HNTB —We can’t build our way out of congestion. Meaning, road widening is not really the solution.
2.Focus on commuters traveling at peak times. A proper survey has to be conducted as to the peak hours that people travel south and the causes of congestion. Believe me, I’ve driven that road so many times at different hours of the day and it is not the width of the road or the number of lanes that is the problem.
- Tricycles should not be allowed on the road(they should be limited to interior roads of these towns not on the highway)
- Jeepneys and buses may pick up and drop off passengers ONLY in designated areas (drivers and passengers need to be disciplined)
- Parades, religious and funeral processions are NOT ALLOWED on the highway, only on the town’s interior streets
- NO PARKING, WALKING, SITTING, DISCO-DANCING, VENDING, PLAYING or SLEEPING on the highway (sounds ridiculous doesn’t it but this is the reality in the South. They think the highway is their yard and they have the right to do with it as they please)
- Fiesta decorations, town beautification paraphernalia and political campaign materials that may obstruct traffic and drivers’ vision- ARE NOT ALLOWED on the HIGHWAY
- Fiesta celebrations have to be contained within the church. People should not be entering the churches from the highway but from a back gate that can be accessed from an interior road/path (not from the highway)
- ALL who use it MUST follow the rules of the road.
- There should be designated crossing areas for pedestrians.
Question: Do rules even exist on that road? And if there are rules, are drivers even aware of them? Is there a speed limit? Is there a rule on passing? Because whenever I drive that direction it seems like the rules are: ‘anything goes’ and ‘speed to your heart’s content’.
|Example of how a frontage road works
Image from Wikipedia
Ideally, it’s time to build a coastal bike lane that goes around the island. And also, we need to build a *frontage road that is parallel to the highway. This road serves local traffic (which means jeepneys, buses, taxis, tricycles…any vehicle that intends to stop frequently should not be operating on the highway). And when this frontage road is in place, there can no longer be storefronts on the side of the highway so that people will have no reason to suddenly stop…they have to get off the highway onto the frontage road to access the local stores)
*Other names for frontage road: access road, service road
“Share the Road “
So, please, please before you ax those 154 trees, let’s understand what the problem really is.
-people do not practice road courtesy
-people are unaware of or do not understand road rules (drivers, cyclists, commuters, pedestrians)
-people do not understand the importance of sharing the road
-cyclists do not have an alternate roadway
-some local businesses have a highway frontage and obstruct traffic as they conduct their daily business
Thus, cutting those trees do not address any of these core issues.
“God has cared for these trees,
saved them from drought, disease, avalanches,
and a thousand tempests and floods.
But he cannot save them from fools. “