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DOTr breaks ground for 76 km-Calabarzon bike lane

BATANGAS CITY (PIA) - The Department of Transportation (DOTr) broke ground on Monday, September 11, for the 76.7-kilometer bike lane project that would traverse cities and towns across Calabarzon to ease traffic and provide protected bike lanes for active commuters.

The P151.7-million project, which is under DOTr’s active transport initiative, involves Class 2 and 3 bike lanes covering selected roads in the cities of Lipa, Batangas and Antipolo, and the towns of Cainta and San Mateo.

Class 3 lanes, marked by broken lines on the road, are considered least protected as these are shared with motor vehicles. Class 2 lanes are separated by pavement marking and/or physical separators but are still on the same carriage way.

DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista noted that the project is in line with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028 and is a collaboration with the Department of Public Works and Highways and local governments.

"We are proud of this project as it contributes to the development of our road sectors. We already have approximately 500 km of bike lanes in Manila, Cebu, and Davao. This year, we aim to establish 400 km of bike lanes in different parts of the country. We have started with the bike lanes in Intramuros and Kalibo, and now we have a 76 km-bike lane for Region IVA," Secretary Bautista said.

He also emphasized the importance of promoting a traffic-free environment by encouraging the public to use bikes whenever possible, considering the health benefits it provides.

The DOTr said the safety of bikers remains a top priority for the project to ensure their protection from larger vehicles on the road.

San Mateo Mayor Bartolomie Rivera Jr. expressed his gratitude for the project, which not only supports their local efforts but also promotes bike tourism in their municipality.

Lipa City Mayor Eric Africa said the construction of the bike lane in the city will start from Balete Exit, passing through Levitown, J.P. Laurel Highway, and leading to Poblacion. Another bike lane will be constructed towards Tambo.

"The one and a half meter-bike lane will be equipped with reflectorizers and pink thermoplastic for easy identification of bikers. We need to share our roads with bikers, as it is their preferred mode of transportation. Despite motorists dominating the roads, we still need to allocate an area for bikers," Mayor Africa said.

He added the Sangguniang Panglungsod has passed an ordinance on clamping and towing, which is now disseminated to the public until November in time for the expected completion of the transport infrastructure by first quarter of 2024.

Mayor Africa underscored the significant benefits of biking including its positive impact on health, role in reducing environmental pollution, and its ability to alleviate traffic congestion, especially in Lipa City.

Carlo Gonzaga, a bike enthusiast, said the project is a welcome news for all bikers as they will finally have their own dedicated lane.

"It's reassuring to know that we will have our own bikers’ lane and we won't have to worry about sharing the road with larger vehicles,” he said.

He cited his personal experience that some motorists disregard bikers' safety.

“It's about time the government recognized bicycles as a legitimate mode of transportation and provided the necessary infrastructure and support.”

Gonzaga added, “Using bikes not only improves our health but also contributes to solving pollution problems. The private sector should also support this initiative. The Department of Tourism should consider bike tourism and offer discounts on entrance fees and affordable meals for bikers, which will encourage more people to explore tourist attractions in the country." (Bhaby P. De Castro-PIA Batangas)

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