Why MMDA needs to make a U-turn on its decision
The logic was simple enough. For a 4 year old.
No daylight, no day...
No trafficlight, no traffic.
Genius! Absolute Genius!
And so began the brainchild of the MMDA. The masterplan to eliminate all traffic in Metro Manila... by eliminating all the traffic lights in Metro Manila! (I can almost hear Dr. evil laughing in the background. Mwahahahahaha!)
At first it was actually working in the places it was implemented (namely C5, Edsa and Quezon Avenue.) No traffic lights meant that in these areas, no car was stopping on its own. No traffic lights meant no MMDA officers were needed to check for traffic.
It took precisely .0000087 milliseconds after implementation for the first problem to occur.
And more problems started pouring in.
Now, obviously obsessed at making the whole damn idea work, we're seeing MMDA resort to smarter and smarter ideas that will give the whole "no traffic light, no traffic" theory a run for its money as the most awe-inspiring spark of genius in human history.
Problem #1: Not all people want to drive indefinitely until the end of a highway. Sometimes, just sometimes, they need to go to the other side of the road.
So how do you make sure everyone got to their destination if there were no traffic lights left on the road?
Bright Idea #1: U-turn slots.
In its purest form, a U-turn is always welcome.
You lost your way? No problem! Make a U-turn and backtrack your way to last place you can remember.
You overshot your intersection? No problem! Make a U-turn and take right turn.
Sure it wasnt the most brilliant of inventions known to the motoring world, but hey, you thank God in the few times you actually use it.
And then the Devil corrupted it.
The MMDA turned this poor thing from an instrument of God to a motorists's nightmare.
In the long stretch of C5 for example, they setup U-turn slots instead of having intersections with traffic lights (and hence, traffic). For someone in the northbound lane, to be able to go anywhere next to the southbound lane, they had to look for the nearest available U-turn slot.
Problem #2: U-turn slots are also choke points
These U-turn slots, depending on how popular the destination was, often got clogged up and used up 2-3 lanes more than was originally planned. This in turn, caused the other lanes to slow done because the U-turns became a choke point...
Apparently besides crazy drivers that swerved 3 lanes to be able to reach the U-turn, the main problem was caused by trucks that took up 4 lanes just to TURN.. which either caused traffic or accidents that caused traffic...
Which led to...
Bright Idea #2: Install "Do not use this U-turn if you are taller than this" signs.
I kid you not. They physically put bars that would hit the top part of the trucks in the U-turn areas that clogged traffic. This should make sure Truck drivers would think twice before using a U-turn slot.
Which led to...
Problem #3: Truck drivers DONT think. Thats why they're truck drivers hehehe
Which led to...
Bright Idea #3: Take out all the minor U-Turns so the Trucks dont clog c5...
Which led to...
Problem #4: Almost ALL the U-turns are minor. So basically there are almost no U-turns left in c5. Few U-turns = Longer drives = Larger gas bills for everyone.
No bright ideas have been churned out at the moment on how to address this.
Problem #5: One use of Traffic lights was, as extensive MMDA research now shows, to give a chance for pedestrians to cross to the other side of the road.
Let me repeat. Traffic lights stop cars. If cars are not moving, people can cross.
If cars ARE moving at high speeds on a 8-lane highway, people can still cross. To the afterlife.
Bright Idea #4: Why did the chicken cross the c5? He didnt. He's a chicken remember?
Now, why do people cross the road anyway? Sounds like a joke, but the MMDA takes it seriously. According to MMDA research, people cross the road because they are Stupid.
Just read the signs they posted: "Bawal tumawid. Nakamamatay." roughly translated in in english as "Dont Cross. You will die, stupid."
So there. People cross the road because they are stupid. Not because they need to go to the other side for minor things such as work and life.
Bright Idea #5: The occasional pedestrian walkway
Of course, the MMDA think tanks, being geniuses that lived in their own ivory towers, were not aware of the continued existence of millions of stupid people in Metro Manila.
So once in a while, they made pedestrian walkways or underground tunnels that turned Stupid people into Smart People. Or at least gave Smart people a way to cross the street.
Of course, since Smart people are heavily outnumbered by Stupid people, these walkways are actually quite few and far between.
Here's my two cents: Just bring back the damn traffic lights!