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LOOK: This Highway Has a Bicycle Lane and Sidewalks

Good news for cyclists!
IMAGE Department of Public Works and Highways Facebook Page
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A “protected” bicycle lane that runs for 5.58 kilometers has been recently opened along the Laguna Lake Highway in Taguig City and a government official said it's only the first of many to be built nationwide. 

“It is our priority to build safe roads and bridges that will also cater to bikers and pedestrians, hence the inclusion of protected bike lanes and sidewalk spaces in our new projects,” Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar said in a statement. Villar led the inauguration rites of the facility on Thursday, February 7.

The three-meter wide bicycle lane is only a part of a 6.62-kilometer stretch along Laguna Lake Highway. According to Anna Mae Lamentillo, the chairperson of the "Build, Build, Build” committee, the rest of the bicycle lane will be completed by the second quarter of the year. 

Unlike other bicycle lanes found in Metro Manila that are separated from the main thoroughfares only by temporary roadblocks, the bike lane along Laguna Lake Highway is “protected” by a two-meter planting strip, providing bikers the comfort that they are completely separated from car traffic. 

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The bike lane also features 1.5-meter sidewalks on both sides for pedestrians and an elevated dike to protect the people against flooding. IMAGE: Department of Public Works and Highways Facebook Page

The bicycle lane, while relatively short distance, hopes to provide just even a bit of traffic relief for Metro Manila commuters. In fact, the Laguna Lake Highway's main goal is to serve as an alternative route to EDSA and C-5 road. 

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Citing data from the Metro Manila Urban Transport Integration Study conducted by the World Bank, Lamentillo said that nearly 35 percent of destinations in the country are within a 15-minute walk or bicycle trip, but majority take short trips through jeepneys, tricycles, and cars instead. 

With the opening of Laguna Lake Highway's bicycle lane, more may be encouraged to commute through bikes instead. "It [the highway] is a traffic congestion measure," she said. 

And this particular kind of bike lanes may be a permanent fixture in DPWH's future road projects.

According to Lamentillo, the 21.8-kilometer Bacolod Negros Occidental Economic Highway and the 18-kilometer Davao City Coastal Road will also feature similar bike lanes and walkways for pedestrians. Both projects are expected to be completed in the next three years. 

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Elyssa Christine Lopez
Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Esquire. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz
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