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Road widening ‘not the
Thursday, November 19, 2015
By Jeandie O. Galolo
Bumper to bumper. An intersection on N. Bacalso Ave. shows a heavy flow of traffic.
German urban expert Dr. Manfred Poppe says road widening projects are not the
solution to solving Metro Cebu’s worsening traffic problem. He suggests reducing car
ownership and establishing a car pooling system. (Sun.Star File)
A GERMAN urban expert believes that road widening works in Cebu today are not
answering the traffic problems.
“Road widening projects are not totally solving the problem. I dont think the streets need
to be widened because it is negatively affecting public spaces,” said Connective Cities
senior project manager Dr. Manfred Poppe, who was in Cebu yesterday to hold a
dialogue with local urban practitioners.
Connective Cities is a joint venture between the Association of German Cities, the
German non-profit organisation Engagement Global Service for Development Initiatives,
and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal
Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
It serves as a venue for dialogue where urban experts share practice-oriented
experience on sustainable urban development, learn together and develop ideas for
urban projects. Through dialogue and learning formats, it mobilizes German and
international know-how on sustainable urban development.
For the Philippines, Cebu was identified as the preferred site, being a second city after
Metro Manila. The Connective Cities project, Poppe said, is mostly undertaken in
secondary or medium-sized cities where growth is speedy and considered more
attractive sites for migration among rural dwellers.
Dr. Poppe cited the worsening traffic conditions in Cebu, where road widening is one of
the massive projects undertaken by the government in the hope of alleviating traffic
However, Poppe suggests there should be a reduction of car ownership in Cebu and a
car pooling system in place. However, he recognized that the reason car ownership in
the country is growing is primarily due to the increase in purchasing power of the
Filipinos, coupled with low-quality public transportation.
Car ownership in developing countries is a status symbol, Poppe said, which makes it
even more attractive to buy a car, and consequently contributing to traffic.
“In low income societies, cars are considered as status symbols... But in Germany, less
of the youth wants to own a car,” Poppe said.
According to the National Economic Development Authority 7 Director Efren Carreon,
who was present during yesterday’s dialogue, Germany has one of the most efficient
integrated public transport systems in the world.
Meanwhile, Cebu and Manila were recently ranked as the least livable cities among the
member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), especially in the
areas of connectivity, environmental sustainability and health and welfare.
The Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) study entitled “Building Better Cities,” released on
the sidelines of the Apec CEO Summit Wednesday, showed Manila ranking 22nd and
Cebu 26th among the 28 APEC cities surveyed.
“Our study ranks Cebu, the Philippines’ second-largest city, low in connectivity, including
airport connectivity and access from the airport to the business district center,” PwC said.
During the APEC meetings in Cebu held in October, Chinese Taipei Ministry of
Transportation and Communications Chi-Kuo Lin called Cebu’s traffic situation a
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 20, 2015.