By: Modesto P. Sa-onoy
THE positive reactions to the two previous columns on my observations on the traffic flow in New York and New Jersey were quick. So I continued observing the vehicles and pedestrians not only to find out how this melting pot of races and mixture of cultures interact but also to learn how we can improve our own. Of course, our officials implement the best means of ensuring the free, smooth and fast movement of people and transport, save on time, and avoid stress. We can only present information but they make the decisions and take or not take action.
We know our officials are well traveled, officially and at people’s expense and they should have been aware of many things and processes in other countries. What I write are not alien to them. Surely they have seen or known what I observed here but whether they learned enough or intend to widen their knowledge, expertise and perspectives is another matter. Chances are some have not become better from their travels. In fact, few of our officials submit a report of their travels and how much they have learned to justify the money spent on them.
Anyway, there are always good things and undesirable things in every country and clime, so it is with the places I have visited here. After New York and New Jersey, I will continue research in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. So far, the results here have been more than expected.
So let’s get back to the traffic and the roads that I wrote about as they compare to the malaise in Bacolod. Last Monday I took a walk to the library and along the way were two women sitting on chairs by the sidewalk with a man in a coat and tie standing beside them. His suit was unusual for this summer time. Anyway, there they were. They invited me to talk about “God” but I just smiled and walked by thinking that here in this progressive city the proselytizers are as active as the men in the afternoon at the Bacolod plaza.
There are sidewalk vendors as well but they are on wheels – they don’t erect structures and obstruct traffic or pedestrians. The food sellers, especially of the iconic hot dogs, have increased their fare with green salads that has apparently become popular because people sat under the trees in the parks for salad lunch – men in business suits and ladies in office attire.
As I wrote, the apartment where we stayed is right at an intersection with the usual traffic lights – one for vehicles and one for pedestrians. The lights in effect control traffic flow and are truly effective because most people obey the law. There are, I wrote last week, violators.
One afternoon, I watched at the balcony two people carry their chairs at the sidewalk where a table had been placed earlier. They took their coffee they bought from the “Coffee Grind”. After about 30 minutes of talking, they folded their table, brought the chairs inside and left. The sidewalk was clear again. They probably just love to take coffee at the sidewalk, like the Italians.
But one defiant driver parked right at the pedestrian lane, a “no parking” place, left the car and went inside one of the lines of apartment buildings about 50 meters away. Another parked his car at the sidewalk, crossed the street and went inside the wine and liquor store. He came out a few minutes later, sat several minutes in his car drinking. After a while, he left.
Color or creed has nothing to do with the violations. A white couple parked right at the intersection, talked or perhaps argued for some time and then drove off. While waiting for our Uber ride, a man parked at the “no parking” area, came out to fetch his wife inside a building but not after distributing to us a yellow paper with an invitation to a meeting of the “Church of Christ”. He identified himself as a Filipino and an “Iglesia” and his wife must have heard us talking in Hiligaynon, said “I am from Bacolod” and “amon na simbahan.” I was almost tempted to reply “that is yours but ours is truly of Christ.” Small world indeed and violators run across all kinds of people.
Let’s continue tomorrow.