Thursday, November 19, 2015

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#WalkEDSA for a #WalkABLE Manila

#WalkABILITY #WalkABLE Manila #WalkEDSA Pinoy Mountaineer Sustainability Trail Seekers WalkMANILA

When we say half the world is living in a cities, most of them are dependent on automobile. It's their alternatives making life more comfortable without thinking anything about the effect in the near future.  One of the factor that affects a healthier walkable city is climate change which happens since time in memorial, that is why we as stewards of our environment everyday we should be committed and think of an alternatives of what we can do being part of the solutions of solving this long over due issue - Climate Change. 

As a mountaineer who always love walking to the extent of being connected to nature, I was inspired by Sir Gideon of Pinoy Mountaineer about his advocacy aiming to start a conversation about how can we make Manila a #WalkABLE City. And in support to his Walkability Advocacy our mountaineering group Trail Seekers joined his journey to raise awareness making manila a #WalkABLE City.

From road to trail, trail to mountain and mountain to cities. My dear folks, how are we going to make Philippines healthier? How can we make Philippines more environmentally sustainable? How can we make Manila a #WalkABLE city? These are but a few questions that came into our minds when our team started walking from Km. 0.

Walking at night has its advantages and disadvantages. For one, we were able to conduct our #WalkEDSA without the risk of experiencing heat stroke as compared to walking during daytime but it then puts us at risk of getting robbed or hurt. That's why we made necessary preparations and properly equipped ourselves, together with God's guidance, we all knew it is possible to safely complete the route we have chosen (KM 0 - Roxas Boulevard - Gil Puat Avenue/Buendia - Ayala Ave - EDSA - Kalayaan Avenue - Bonifacio Global City, Taguig).



From Km. 0, we walked through Roxas Boulevard at the northbound side to see the incoming traffic in order to avoid any accidents. We passed through the US embassy, convention and trade centers, park, government buildings, hotels, educational institutions, bars and side-walk vendors along the way. Moreover, Roxas Boulevard can also be considered as a playground for runners - especially on weekends which makes it more presentable. The presence of quick-growing trees might make it a more welcoming sight and planting is will surely make it a greener and eco-friendly road, now and beyond.


Hydration station 7/11 Buendia LRT

After about 30 minutes of walking, we stopped by at a 7/11 shop in Buendia LRT to re-hydrate and re-energize ourselves (Take FIVE!). Continuing the walk, we noticed the presence of #BatangHamog at the sidewalks of Pasay. Noise and air pollution is also present in the area, and as the crime rate in Pasay increase, I can say that it is not advisable to walk on its sidewalks especially during inconvenient hours. As a response, Pasay City is now trying to decrease the crime rate in the area by implementing various safety infrastructures.

"Madaling ma-identify din 'yun na ito, nakapaikot ang camera sa inyo. Kung may binabalak kayong gawin, 'wag na kayong gumawa kasi mahuhuli lang kayo," said Pasay City Police chief Sr. Supt. Joel Bargamenti Doria. "

Out of all the places we've passed through during our #WalkEDSA Makati, specifically Ayala Avenue is the only place that is pedestrian friendly. The side walks are very wide, acceptably clean and well-maintained. Even though there are not much police visibility at night, there's still a notion of security possibly because the area is very well lit. The only issue I could think of is the closing of several underpasses during the night because by doing so, in order to cross the road, you would have to either take a long detour and try and find an open overpass or just jay walk and take the risk of being hit by a fast moving vehicle in a busy intersection.



On the other-hand, The main issue if have with EDSA are the lack of protective railings or barrier on the sidewalk because it puts the pedestrians in danger of getting hit by a bus. Moreover, there are several sections of the sidewalk that are too narrow even for one person to walk onto specifically at the Buendia LRT section. Lastly, I could say with absolute certainty that EDSA is not PWD friendly because during the whole duration of the walk, I have not seen any PWD ramps so if you're on a wheel chair, good-luck on getting on and off the sidewalk. The only positive thing I could think of about EDSA is the police visibility in the area especially at the intersections and loading/unloading areas.

My favorite part of our walk was the one along EDSA to Kalayaan Avenue. Only then was I able to realize why people dub EDSA as Hell. Those killer busses and nasty drivers, the narrow and dark bike lanes, people who wants to walk along the highway -- these are just some of the problems that I saw while rambling along EDSA. Upon entering Kalayaan Avenue, I noticed that the rubbish are disgustingly scattered on the sidewalks. The faded pedestrian lane at the crossing under Kalayaan flyover together with the street vendors and street people who occupies the sidewalks are also some of the additions to the problem.

When we reached our last stop at the Bonifacio High Street, I realized that EDSA visibly needs work and that the Government must act in order to make the streets and corners of EDSA safe for pedestrians.


Starbucks Parkade BGC (picture taken after the 14kms walk)
L-R (Lei | Catherine | Janz | Elgem | Jon | Nikki | Ysa | Rasty)

Special thanks to the walkers for the success of our first #WalkEDSA (more walk soon, this is just the beginning.) Nikki Jorge and Jon Nazareno of ByaheNiJuan.com, Lei Hernandez, Elgem and Janz Ursal, Rasty of RastySanchez.com and Catherine Victoria Caya.

"Marami naka block sa mga pathways. Instead na daanan ng tao ginawang tulugan ng mga squaters," said Sir Elgem Ursal.


"Yes, its not easy but it can be done and can be done one step at a time."

Infrastructural improvements like street lights and safety plus strict implementation of the law will definitely make this advocacy possible. As the saying goes, "It takes two to tango." The government should not be the only one to act but the people should do so as well.

My dear folks, are you willing to go and take an extra mile? To walk is to love the environment, and to love means seeing MAGIC. We do hope that this #WalkABILITY Advocacy will inspire everyone to share love for more love. Let us #WalkEDSA for a #WalkABLE Manila.

Link for the short video clip of our #WalkEDSA credit to Catherine Victoria Caya:


WalkEDSA by Trail Seekers

Starting Point: Km. O
End Point: Bonifacio Global City Taguig
Route: Km 0 - Roxas Boulevard - Gil Puyat Avenue/Buendia - Ayala Avenue - Edsa - Kalayaan Avenue - Bonifacio Global City Taguig
Total Kms: 14kms
No. of Walkers: 8
No. of Hours: 3 hours 30 minutes

Contributors:
Jon Nazareno | Nikki Jorge | Rasty Sanchez | Elgem Ursal

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