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Palafox has 1,000 ideas to make PH living easier
« on: September 24, 2016, 09:33:50 AM »
Palafox has 1,000 ideas to make PH living easier - including how to survive Carmageddon
By: Tricia Aquino, InterAksyon.com
September 24, 2016 12:41 AM


Renowned architect Felino Palafox, Jr. has “1,000 recommendations” to ease traffic and make Philippine cities more liveable, and is optimistic that the new administration will heed them, reversing what he believes was the previous administration's policy of NATO, or “No Action, Talk Only”.

Palafox was the speaker at the second “Brewing @ AIM: conversations with thought-leaders” forum at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City on Friday.

While foreigners often prided themselves in learning Filipino phrases such as “Mabuhay”, a diplomat Palafox had met had a different phrase in his arsenal: “Traffic, grabe!”.

Palafox also recalled meeting an ambassador, who, upon being asked how long s/he had been in the Philippines, replied, “Three months in Makati, two months in EDSA.”

Among the first steps the government should take – and is already taking, in Makati City, at least – is to open up the roads of military camps and villages to all vehicles during peak hours on weekdays.

“One thing good about this new government is that they listen... I spoke to the Secretary of National Defense if they can open up the roads of the military camps during peak hours. And I said, 'The government should be the exemplar – not the exempted',” Palafox said.

To assuage security concerns, CCTV cameras could be installed. A toll could even be charged, or stickers required.

The same could be done for the villages, and the Department of Public Works and Highways could then repave the roads being used as they wore down.

Bel-Air 2 and San Miguel villages in Makati had already opened their roads to the public, alleviating the congestion along Makati Ave. and Reposo St., Palafox reported.

If this was too radical for homeowners, they could start with “inter-village courtesy” for Metro Manila, he suggested.

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Re: Palafox has 1,000 ideas to make PH living easier
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2016, 09:34:33 AM »
Walkways from Makati to Cubao

Palafox also proposed constructing pedestrian bridges across waterways, and elevated walkways across EDSA.

“Friday payday, and it's raining? It's faster to walk from Makati to Cubao,” he said, referring to recent traffic jams that have been so horrendous, they have been nicknamed 'Carmageddon'.

The recommended number of steps to walk per day is 10,000, but when he’s working in Makati, Palafox said, he could only walk 2,000 steps. He could walk 20,000 in Dubai and 25,000 in Manhattan due to their design.

He pointed out that he and his schoolmates in Harvard University found that there were more heart attacks and a greater prevalence of obesity in Los Angeles than in Boston, with the latter being more pedestrian-friendly than the former.

Meanwhile, pavements should be made tactile for the handicapped. The blind would know just by feeling the ground, for example, that they were already nearing the edge of the sidewalk.

“Those with less in wheels should have more in roads,” Palafox stressed. The road should be divided into three parts: one-third each for people, vehicles, and landscaping. Pedestrians, bicycles, public transit, and private cars should be prioritized, in that order.

The government should not measure its success in the number of vehicles per lane, per hour. Rather, it should look at the number of people per lane, per hour.

“We have a bias for the automobile, (but) only two percent of Filipinos own cars. 100 percent of us are pedestrians. But the policy of our infrastructure is still for the automobile,” Palafox lamented.

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Re: Palafox has 1,000 ideas to make PH living easier
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2016, 09:35:02 AM »
How not to do it

“Planning is balance. We have all these problems because of imbalance,” Palafox said.

Most of the central business districts were situated along the EDSA corridor, he pointed out. Quezon City, Cubao District, Ortigas Center, Fort Bonifacio Global City, Makati Central Business District, and Rockwell Center were all here.

Makati alone was challenged by having to transport a daytime population that was 11 times the nighttime population.

He also bemoaned the low-density gated communities, which were frowned upon in other urban centers around the globe.

“I think Metro Manila is the only place in the world where you have mansions in the middle of the city,” Palafox said.

He quoted the American Planning Association as declaring in 1998 that “if you have a big house in the middle of the city, you have a higher carbon footprint because you are allocating to yourself prime urban resources, you are preventing more families to live closer to their places of work, you're encouraging more urban sprawl to encroach into the forest and the farms.”

When in Manhattan, the likes of the Clintons, Kennedys, and Bloombergs would live in apartments, Palafox said.

In other parts of the world, he added, big houses were undergoing “renewal” into multi-family dwellings. He proposed to Makati villages to do the same and allow houses to be constructed six storeys-high.

However, he said, “In our part of the world, when I talk like this, instead of shaming them, they shame me. But elsewhere in the world, I get paid for those best practices.”

Another example of “how not to do it” was the location of the MRT stations along EDSA. Elsewhere in the world, a train station was in a high-density area, so more people were within walking distance. Here, the stations were surrounded by gated communities with residents that did not use the train.

“Our plans in our country are only short term and opportunistic; not long-term and visionary,” Palafox said.

He accused some developers of thinking only about “profit, profit, profit, never mind traffic”.

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Re: Palafox has 1,000 ideas to make PH living easier
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2016, 09:35:22 AM »
Soft infrastructure

Aside from the need for “hard infrastructure” like roads and utilities, the government must also consider the “soft infrastructure”, Palafox said.

This referred to the ease of doing business, fostered by putting an end to corruption, kickbacks, and red tape.

Palafox said he met a developer last year who paid a building permit fee of P4 million, but his/her official receipt only indicated the amount of P30,000.

Palafox also urged the government to review obsolete laws that no longer made sense or prevented the Philippines from becoming globally competitive. Old plans could be updated and revisited, too.

For example, he helped formulate the plan for a Paranaque spillway back in the 1970s, which would have prevented the flooding of Metro Manila during the rainy season. Today, 80,000 hectares of urban land gets flooded – an area bigger than Singapore, Palafox said.

But the architect had faith in what he jokingly referred to as President Rodrigo Duterte's “action first, explain later” style of governance.

Palafox was in favor of giving the government emergency powers to respond to the traffic problem, provided that the government write the scope of their work and deliverables with a timeline, so there is no room for abuse.

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Re: Palafox has 1,000 ideas to make PH living easier
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2016, 09:38:09 AM »
Asa ang book sa 1,000 ideas? :)
Romans 10:9-10
"If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."

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