By Emme Rose Santiagudo
Seeing the need to promote biking as an alternative mode of transport amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis, Iloilo City is planning to establish more bike lanes to support the growing biking community.
According to Mayor Jerry Treñas, they are eyeing an additional 32.86 kilometers of bike lanes on top of the existing lanes.
“We are promoting Iloilo City as the Bike Capital of the Philippines considering that it is hailed as the Most Bike-Friendly City. The proposed additional bike lane is 32.86 kilometers and this would be a great help to our Ilonggo bike enthusiasts,” he said in a post on his official Facebook page on Saturday.
Iloilo City has more than 11 kilometers of bike lanes at the Diversion Road and in selected thoroughfares in the city.
Last May 27, 2020 the mayor, together with representatives of the Public Safety and Management Office (PSTMO), City Engineering Office (CEO), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and Iloilo Bicycle Council, met to discuss the proposed bike lanes in the metro.
Biking enthusiast and renowned Ilonggo artist Rock Drilon said the additional bike-lanes will connect Iloilo City Hall, Provincial Capitol, and other key establishments.
“The mayor conveyed that he will look for funds and has encouraged Ilonggos since the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) started to take up bicycling for transport,” he said in a report from the Iloilo City Public Information Office.
In 2018, Iloilo City was recognized as a Bike-Friendly City. The city has also been organizing its annual bike festival since 2013.
Last year, the government of Netherlands, through its Dutch Cycling Embassy, partnered with the city government to strengthen its urban planning, particularly in putting up infrastructure dedicated to cycling
The embassy organized a “Think Bike Workshop” with stakeholders from the tourism and planning offices of the local government, the transport sector, and cycling civic society organizations to propose specific guidelines for urban-related biking in the metro’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP).
During a visit to Iloilo City, the Dutch Ambassador saw the potential of the city as the biking heaven of the Philippines with the right urban infrastructures dedicated to biking and the support and cooperation both from the local government and its citizens.
“It’s not as congested as Manila. It has a size that is very well manageable. There is already a tradition for biking. People bike here for recreational purposes. It is already in the tradition, now it’s about making it accessible for everybody in terms of infrastructures. Biking should be safe, it should easy to take a bike when going to work, shopping, or biking along the river,” Dutch Ambassador, H.E. Saskia Elisabeth De Lang said in previous interviews.