The number of vehicles plying the Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (Edsa) is now returning to pre-pandemic level, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chair Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. said on Monday.
In a press conference, Abalos reported that the number of vehicles that went through Edsa on June 10, 2021 reached 318,451 compared to 405,882 cars recorded on July 8, 2019.
“Ang ibig po nitong sabihin ay we are reaching that volume dito po sa Edsa (This means we’re reaching that volume in Edsa),” Abalos said.
He noted that Edsa’s official daily capacity is only 300,000 vehicles.
Abalos also said the average speed of vehicles plying Edsa has also reached 24 kilometers per hour (kph), a significant improvement from 11 kph before the pandemic.
He said one reason for the increase in vehicular traffic can be attributed to a spike in motor vehicle sales this year.
Based on data from the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (CAMPI) and the Truck Manufacturers Association, he said vehicle sales jumped 130 times in April this year compared to the same month in 2020.
He said 17,843 vehicles were sold in April this year as compared to only 133 units sold in April 2020 when many areas of the country were under enhanced community quarantine due to Covid-19 pandemic.
For the first four months of 2021, he said 88,155 vehicle units were sold or 36.6 percent higher than the 64,675 units sold in the same period last year.
“What is the point of this? There is an increase in vehicles in the country. That’s why infrastructure is important,” Abalos said in Filipino.
One of the infrastructure projects that is seen to improve traffic flow in Edsa, he said, is the planned expansion of the northbound Balintawak portion from three lanes to five lanes.
He said the MMDA is in talks with Camp Crame to possibly expand the nearby service road by one lane for southbound.
Abalos also said the planned elevated bus ramps at intersections along Edsa for the Edsa Busway is in the pipeline but other options are being considered due to the high cost of the project.
“It will cost P400 million for one intersection. And we’re talking at least three or four intersections. But we’ll see if traffic lights will ease traffic,” Abalos said in Filipino.
He said it will take a month to determine whether traffic lights are enough to ease decongestion and if not, the elevated bus ramp project will continue if it proves necessary.