I’m an advocate of walking. Whenever I’m in a new place or destination, walking is a way for me to familiarize with the environment. It gives me an idea on the economic and social status of the place aside from getting my bearings. When I was invited by a friend Tin of JovialWanderer to join Gideon of Pinoymountaineer as well as members of Global Shapers Community – Manila hub for #WalkEDSA last October 25, walking the length of Edsa from SM MOA to SM North Edsa, I jumped in on the idea. One of the reason is I haven’t done that before and it would be interesting to see Manila on foot through the city’s busiest thoroughfare.
Talk about Walking
With the ever worsening condition of traffic in Manila, walking is a good alternative especially of the distance is only a few meters or kilometers. However not all parts of the city as we found out from the 21.3km walk is “Pedestrian-freindly”. Gideon Lasco spearheaded the movement for #walkEDSA to kickstart conversations on how to make Manila Walkable. It is also a way to personally see the conditions of the sidewalks, streets and behaviour of people both on foot and behind the wheel.
I decided to track our walk for #WalkEDSA with my MapMyRun app installed in my Asus Zenfone 2 Laser with location settings to highest accurate, meaning making use of global satellites and GPS-assisted cellular networks. We started our walk in MOA at 5:00am and finished 5 hours and 31 minutes at SM North Edsa. Based on the data, the area with the fastest pace was from Ortigas to Santolan, being one of the ideal places to walk with wide sidewalk sharing with bikes, relatively clean and also adorned with a beautiful stretch of colorful murals. Air pollution was a given but we also noticed that the most littered areas were the ones near bus stops and pedestrian overpass. Edsa became home to many squatters especially in the Pasay areas. There were also narrow sidewalks that can only fit a couple of people side by side and areas along MRT stations where pedestrians have to squeeze through. It is true that not much thought were given to pedestrian’s welfare when many of Manila’s infrastructure was built.
On my personal observation though, people complain a lot about traffic and density of vehicles but what I also see is that both drivers and people lacks discipline. A lot of drivers here have no respect to pedestrians, especially taxi drivers who will bully their way to get through the side streets. I think we should rethink the street rules and strictly enforce them. Likewise, pedestrian should learn to be patient and strictly follow pedestrian traffic lights.
Move for a Walkable Manila
The move to make most parts of Manila walkable would take time and admittedly have a long way to go. But being aware of this issue is the start. When people see that its doable, safe and healthy everything would follow. It’s a great compliment with commute or bringing your car. To get updates on our #WalkEDSA advocacy, follow the facebook page /walkmanila
All photos taken with Asus Zenfone 2 Laser.