January 28, 2010

Lanes? What lanes?

Light traffic on Quezon Avenue, one of Metro Manila's longest thoroughfares—the white Quezon Memorial in the distance marks one end of the road—on a Sunday. Most of our roads don't have bike lanes so bicycles share the road with all other vehicles, even though they're really not supposed to be allowed on the major roads anyway. The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) closed off most intersections and instead created U-turn slots; to make sure that turning cars have a lane to drive onto, they set up concrete blocks to keep a lane free, but the blocks themselves eat up into the next lane, creating bottlenecks wherever there are U-turn slots. Major roads have bus and jeepney stops, but since this is a Sunday, there are no traffic enforcers so buses and jeepneys drop off and pick up passengers anywhere. Taxis can do that any time since, with the exception of Makati City, there are no designated stops for them in the metro. And also because of the absence of traffic enforcers, pedestrians are free to risk life and limb crossing at street level, which most would rather do than walking the additional hundred meters to the nearest blue and pink overpass, which is where I took this photo. Imagine what this street looks like during the weekdays. So if you ever hear that Filipinos are some of the world's best defensive drivers, now you know why.

Quezon Avenue on a Sunday afternoon

33 comments:

Misalyn said...

Kitang kita na halos karamihan ng sasakyan sa shot na to ay wala sa linya. Hay buhay...kelan kaya magbabago ang sistema ng lansangan sa atin.

Kaori said...

Wow I don't think we have a risky street like that here! ;) By the way, why are there no traffic enforcers on sunday?

James said...

Nice catch. It reminds me of the way taxis drive. Yikes.

RJ said...

Huh! ={

...but I still love the Philipiines!

Pam said...

Hi Hilda,
It sounds a lot like it is hear sometimes... every man for himself. Defensive driving is always the best way to stay alive.

Leif Hagen said...

A lot less traffic than in Bangalore, India but there also they ignore the lane markers! Don't forget your seatbelt!

Jacob said...

I had to laugh! It doesn't look like anybody is in their lane! Can't imagine the chaos on this street during rush hour!

Good eye, Hilda!

ρομπερτ said...

First I thought you are talking about Athens, Greece. Coming from a small village, this is indeed, one of the most difficult things to get used to.
Always a safe step and road ahead of you, I'd like to wish you all a wonderful Thursday.

afv said...

All out of their lanes...look at that biker placing himself in great danger.

Don and Krise said...

I believe they call it survival of the fittest don't they? Leave it to you to be smart enough to take this shot from above instead of at ground level. (Or ground zero)

Olivier said...

Cycliste dans les grandes villes, c'est toujours très dangereux. Pour le futur, j'espère qu'il y aura des pistes cyclables partout et qui reliera les villes entre elle

Dina said...

You explain it so well. The Sunday part is especially interesting.
Funny that you, Magiceye in Mumbai, and I all posted traffic today.

VP said...

Even in Italy we keep lanes slightly better! Now I really believe that defesive driving is in the DNA of the Filipino driver...

lunarossa said...

Not different from an Italian road in a busy city! But we are also "aggressive" not only defensive drivers! Ciao. A.

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

I read y our post today with great interest and tried to imagine some of the turn places you speak about. Then that sort of reminded me of my first trip to Tokyo in 1953. I got in a taxi and was sped through the city to my destination in break-neck-speed with horn blaring and the driver not stopping for anything or any intersection. He was a kamikaze pilot on steroids.

maricar said...

Hilda we stayed for more than one week in Cairo and believe me this photo is still "OK" there everybody drive like crazy and looking from our veranda's hotel there it was fun more than looking in TV :)

Vernz said...

Pinoys really can do more under maneuvering situations ...

Indeed, ang luwag!

Autumn Belle @ KDP said...

I like pictures of the streets like this where the road seems to lead to infinity.

Louis la Vache said...

hee hee!
If Filipinos are some of the world's best defensive drivers, Parisian drivers are among the world's most OFFENSIVE!

Renee said...

I will say your roads are impeccable. Nice to not have pot holes!

Tulsa Gentleman said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you will visit often. Your comment led me to this blog which I like very much. I will follow you from now on. I once had a Pinoy friend who told me a little about his homeland but you are providing a clearer window into your very interesting culture. Thank you.

Tes said...

Hilda, this post reminded me of my days in college. Every driver to his own. Load honking of horns, jeepneys stopping in the middle of the road to load, and/or unload passengers... As my brother-in-law would put it, the only rule when driving in PI is to get to where you're going in one piece, period. Hahaha!

Lois said...

Sounds scary! Here people are notorious for running red lights, so when the light turns green you don't dare step on the gas without looking both ways first. The city is now installing cameras at certain intersections to catch the red light runners and issue tickets.

cieldequimper said...

Hello Hilda, I had to smile, this is sooooo like Paris!

Ken Mac said...

out of control!

scenesfromphiladelphia said...

haha! Love it! The title fits perfectly with the picture! :-)

John`s Photography said...

Great post and picture!

Photo Cache said...

Huli kayo! I hope this pic gets published on the papers so the traffic authority can see what's going on - as if they don't already know.

Great capture Hilda.

George said...

It sounds as if your drivers and traffic planners got their educations in Tennessee!

Andreea said...

This looks soo familiar :) Romanians aren't good at driving within lanes either; it there's no traffic the roads look like in your photo. If there's traffic, those four lanes become five or at times even six :)

Hilda said...

LOL, Andreea! That's reassuring to hear. The same thing happens here during weekdays! :D

AB said...

There is a trend in European urban planning to do away with all road markings and road signs - Controlled Chaos. It looks like Manila is showing us how that works!

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