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Philippines allots P700 million for 470 km of bicycle lanes this year

THE bicycle lane budget for 2023 of P700 million will lead to the construction of at least 470 kilometers (km) worth of lanes, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said.

Iyong [budget for] new bike lanes natin nakuha namin sa GAA (General Appropriations Act), ay around P700 million (The budget for new bike lanes is around P700 million from the GAA),” Transport Secretary Jaime J. Bautista said on Monday.

Mr. Bautista said the sites where bike lanes will be built are still under study.

“They will be in different areas, not only in Metro Manila, but also in provinces,” he added.

Over the past three years, the DoTr marked off 566 km worth of bike lanes, which Mr. Bautista said are compliant with international standards.

On Monday, the DoTr also announced the launch of a “Share the Road” campaign in partnership with SM Supermalls.

Mr. Bautista said that “pedestrians and cyclists should be accorded the highest priority among all road users.”

SM has pledged to disseminate share-the-road materials across its properties, detailing active transport protocols and policies, maps and current and future bike lane networks and other infrastructure.

“We really need protected bike lanes… that are uniform and (car-sized),” Bicycle Friendly Philippines Sustainable Transport Advocate Aneka S. Crisostomo said.

“If you really want to embrace the spirit of sharing the road and making it safe for vulnerable road users, we really have to prioritize the implementation of safe infrastructure through improved wider bike lanes with proper protection and maintenance,” she added.

“We need to improve the quality of our bike lanes. Bike lanes should have physical barriers separating the cyclists from motor vehicles. We have to make the pavements smooth and comfortable for everyone,” Move As One Coalition Co-Convenor Robert Y. Siy said.

“Cycling and sidewalks are the best investments that our government can make today. This year we are spending less than P1 billion for biking facilities but we should be actually spending a lot more,” he added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile

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