MANY engineers frown upon the design of the 8-lane Diversion Road in Mandurriao, Iloilo, which is slowly gaining the dark reputation as a killer highway.
A major road that wide (thus it caters to thousands of vehicles a day) is a hazard to pedestrians. The standard design is to install pedestrian overpasses, not pedestrians. A very wide highway is always open to numerous possibilities of cars overtaking each other, leaving the pedestrians a little or even zero chance to evade certain death.
The two public school teachers, who were dragged to their deaths on Saturday by a speeding sports car, opened our eyes on the fatal prospects of crossing multiple-lane highways. While others view it as a product of one idiotic moment, the fact remains that pedestrians are forced to cross the road for lack of elevated walkways.
If ever there are walkways provided by the public works office, the next challenge is to encourage the public to use the structure. Of course, we assume that the overpasses will also cater to the elderly and persons with disabilities (read: functional elevators).
Forcing pedestrians to use overpasses is as hard as imposing the loading and unloading rule for public utility vehicles.
Some drivers are forced to violate the law because many passengers refuse or are just too lazy to wait for their rides at the designated loading/unloading areas. But it should not be an excuse for drivers to help discipline their passengers by telling them to wait at the proper spot. Then again, the urge to earn the quick way is always strong.
This brings us to the fact that many infrastructure projects are only meant for aesthetics with less regard for public safety. Wide highways titillate our senses and make us brag that we are a modern city.
But all that disappears when Death stretches its icy cold fingers and causes fatal pileups and mishaps just like what happened last weekend. We howl for justice and our public servants are on their usual knee-jerk reactions to either appease the victims and an angry public or show off leadership acumen.
They miss the point – the lack of foresight and forethought is the cause of our tragedies. The wanton building of megastructures made us forget the perils of unbridled development. We will only wake up if someone dies then fall back to slumber again.
What a vicious cycle.