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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Lawmaker wants use of sidewalks and public roads regulated to ensure pedestrians' safety and ease traffic
12 July 2019 01:47:18 PM

A House Member has proposed to regulate the use of sidewalks and public roads in all urban areas to ensure safe pedestrian passage and ease in traffic flow that will result in a more progressive economy.

Rep. Robert Ace Barbers (2nd District, Surigao del Norte) authored House Bill 504 or the proposed “Sidewalks and Public Roads Use Act”, seeking to regulate the use of sidewalks and public roads in urban areas, which are meant for the utilization and enjoyment of the general public.

“It is of no secret that urban areas have become so congested that people tend to disregard order and do things convenient to them. Small businesses have used and occupied our sidewalks, leaving pedestrians with no choice but to walk by the roadsides, thus exposing them to greater risks of injury and even death,” Barbers said.

Moreover, Barbers said residents who do not have parking spaces at home use the streets as their parking lots. Meanwhile, business establishments which do not have ample parking spaces use the roads as parking lots for their vehicles and those of their clients, thereby clogging the already narrow roads and impeding traffic flow, he said.

“Adding to the already chaotic situation is the proliferation of terminals of public utility vehicles. Our roads are not built for such purposes and the taxpayers have all the right to complain. It is a fact that traffic in urban areas result in economic losses amounting to billions of pesos yearly. Should these road obstructions be cleared, traffic flow will ease and a more robust economy will result,” said Barbers, who chaired the Committee on Dangerous Drugs during the 17th Congress.

House Bill 504, declares it is the policy of the State to clear sidewalks and public roads from unauthorized commercial or personal use to facilitate the smooth passage of persons and clear all obstructions to traffic and vehicular flow. Sidewalks and public roads must be maintained to allow safe pedestrian passage and ease in traffic flow that will result in a more progressive economy, it further declares.

As referred in the bill, sidewalk means paved path for pedestrians which is adjacent to public roads.

The bill prohibits the following acts: 1) build any edifice, stall, and other similar structures; 2) put up any business and other forms of obstruction; 3) leave garbage and other junk materials; 4) engage in ambulant vending; and 4) other acts that tend to impede or obstruct the use of sidewalks which are meant to service pedestrians.

Special permits may be issued by proper authorities for the temporary use of sidewalks to conduct business such as, but not limited to, vulcanizing shops, repair shops, parking spaces, eateries, advertisement spaces, and other similar activities.

It further provides that without permit from the proper authorities, it shall be unlawful to use public roads for parking, business, public utility terminals, and any other activity that tend to impede the flow of traffic. Only temporary activities may be issued permits for the use of public roads.

In no case shall public roads be designated by the local government units (LGUs) or other government agencies as parking spaces and/or terminals for PUVs, whether for free or for a fee.

The application for the grant of permits for the temporary use of sidewalks and public roads shall contain the following information : 1) full name and complete address of applicant/s; 2) place where applicant is allowed to use and the duration of such use; 3) purpose of such use; and 4) purpose of use is for selling of goods, and the products applicant is authorized to sell.

The bill mandates the municipal or city government to implement the Act. Within 30 days from the approval of the Act, the municipal or city governments shall formulate the implementing rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the Act.

Violators shall pay a fine ranging from P1,000 to P10,000, which shall accrue to the Municipal/City Treasury, and their vehicles shall be impounded by proper authorities.

Any prior permit issued to violators shall be revoked. Such revocation shall prohibit the grant of a new permit for 12 months from the date of conviction. / Rowena B. Bundang, News and Documentation Section-Press and Public Affairs Bureau/ House of Representatives of the Philippines