As the rest of Metro Manila are taking proactive steps in recognizing the role of active transport in their cities and municipalities, Ayala Land Inc has converted Ayala Avenue bike lanes into sharrows in Makati City. These sharrows will allow motor vehicles and bicycles to be in the same lane, putting not only cyclists’ safety at risk, but also the lives of all road users.
Initiatives that prioritizes the safety for pedestrians and cyclists are much more needed in highly urbanized areas. Encouraging cities to assess the role of cycling in its transportation landscape by collecting data could provide valuable insights such as determining the areas in which there is the most cyclists, determining the volume of commuters and access to active transportation. This would enable the city to make informed decisions that centers on safety and promoting active transport
Mobility advocates, individuals and organizations together with Make it Safer Movement have recently signed a petition to call out Makati City and condemn the systemic removal of protected bike lanes around the Philippines.
By prioritizing active transport and inclusive mobility, cities can enhance accessibility, improve quality of life, and empower individuals to exercise their right to move freely within their communities.
We firmly believe that less cars and more provisions on policies and infrastructure for active transport and inclusive mobility means less emissions as road equity is part of climate justice and ensures freedom of movement as a fundamental right for everyone
AYALA IGNORES SAFETY OF COMMUTERS AND CYCLISTS
11 July 2023
Although Ayala’s public statements highlight its commitment to sustainability and people-oriented development, such promises prove false when measured by their recent actions: The safety of commuters and cyclists in Makati Central Business District (CBD) is not Ayala’s priority.
Earlier this year, sustainable mobility advocates protested the planned conversion of Ayala Avenue bike lanes to sharrows (allowing motor vehicles and bicycles to mix in the same lane), which would endanger thousands of cyclists and commuters that traverse Ayala Avenue daily.
On February 24, Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) declared its commitment to work with the #MakeItSaferMakati community “as a model for collaboration between people, local government units, and developers in promoting bike- and commuter-friendly places and cities all around the Philippines.” In a joint statement, they agreed to maintain the protected bike lanes and to implement street design solutions through a technical working group (TWG).
There have been some developments: There is a good effort to close down Paseo de Roxas on weekends for Makati Street Meet. ALI has committed to buying more accessible bike racks in the future. But these do not address the fundamental road safety issues in Ayala developments.
After four months, things have gotten worse for safety. ALI rejected the community’s proposed safety interventions. ALI even removed protected bike lanes in their neighboring development Bonifacio Global City while the TWG was still meeting. ALI did not honor their written commitment to study a full protected bike lane. ALI ignored the data and testimonies. ALI opposed transparency and the participation of key stakeholders. The bike lanes are narrower, traffic enforcers remain hostile to cyclists and pedestrians, and more and more people are getting injured. (See Annex for more information.)
We entered the TWG in good faith — but Ayala’s arbitrary decisions have placed thousands of vulnerable road users in Makati in more hazardous situations. Ultimately, Ayala has proven one thing: They do not prioritize our safety. Ayala Corporation’s leadership is not living out the values they say they stand up for.
Call to Action
- We call on the leadership of ALI to listen to the data and swiftly implement effective interventions in conflict zones already within its power and jurisdiction. They must not wait for another injury or death before taking action.
- We call on Makati City Mayor Abigail Binay to work with ALI to implement high-quality walking and cycling infrastructure that they and their own loved ones will feel safe using every day.
Protected Bike Lanes Protect Us All
A Unity Statement on the Systemic Removal of Protected Bike Lanes in the Philippines
We strongly condemn the systemic removal of protected bike lanes around the Philippines, which endangers not just the lives of cyclists, but the lives of all road users. The most recent case is in the City of Makati which, in a massive step backward, will be removing their lauded protected bike lanes along Ayala Avenue in favor of shared lane markings by Wednesday, February 15. The removal of what used to be the gold standard for protected bike lane width has dashed the hopes of many road users for safer streets in our cities.
We stand united as ordinary citizens, car owners, commuters, transport workers, cyclists, electric kick scooters and active mobility users, delivery workers, office workers, motorcycle riders, pedestrians, health care workers, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, women, parents, children, teachers, students, and business owners.
We refuse to be divided and pitted against each other. We want just one thing: to arrive at our destinations and come home safe. We want to have safer streets where any person can feel safe to walk, bike, go on a wheelchair, commute, and even drive safely.
We need to exercise empathy with one another, so we can build a city that keeps us all safe.
- We car owners want safer streets. We are happy to give away one or two of our car lanes to cyclists, pedestrians, and commuters so they can be safer in their protected lanes and move freely without congestion. We recognize that we are just 6% of the country, a privileged minority. But we car owners are cyclists, pedestrians, and commuters too, so we understand how dangerous our streets are. We want slower, safer streets so that we don’t carelessly kill people in our haste to drive in needlessly wide roads. We are tired of traffic and years of ineffective solutions. We understand that a good public and active transport system that includes protected bike lanes and accessible walkways is the way to truly make moving around easier and ultimately beneficial for everyone.
- We commuters and transport workers want properly designed public transport stops, while reallocating road space for protected bike lanes and walkways. Sharrows will not keep us safer. Paint is not protection. Removing bollards is a death sentence. There are design options to keep all of us safe and keep public transport moving without taking space away from our most vulnerable road users: cyclists, pedestrians, women, children, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.
- We cyclists, electric kick scooters, active mobility users, and delivery riders need wider protected lanes. So many of us have been injured or killed because of the lack of protected and well-maintained infrastructure. We have needed to pay hospital bills because of injuries from potholes and being sideswiped by motor vehicles. We feel we have been neglected for so long even when, according to the SWS, we outnumber car owning households 4 to 1. We office workers rely on protected bike lanes to get around safely while saving money given the high cost of gas. We delivery riders rely on protected bike lanes for our livelihood, and to ensure we deliver people’s orders safely to our customers’ homes. We deserve to be protected on the road.
- We pedestrians demand wider walkways along with protected bike lanes. Too often, we are treated like prisoners on a sliver of pavement, like the absurdly narrow MRT Ortigas walkway, a candidate for one of the worst pedestrian accesses in the world. Due to the inadequate and fragmented sidewalks, too often we are forced to walk on the bike lane, or worse, on the road, where we are at risk of getting in a road crash.
- We healthcare workers sound the alarm on the epidemic of road crashes, which is one of the top causes of death among Filipinos, especially among children. This is unacceptable. Many studies have already confirmed that the main factor for road crashes is unfettered car speed: a hostile urban environment that favors faster vehicle speeds, and sacrifices the safety of our most vulnerable populations. We echo the call to build a better urban environment for all.
- We persons with disabilities and senior citizens want proper protected lanes, continuous pedestrian access, urban shade trees, accessible ramps, and at-grade crossings as opposed to elevated footbridges we cannot access. Safer streets for us are safer streets for all.
- We students, teachers, youth groups, and children demand safer pedestrian and cycling facilities like bike parks, showers, slower streets, and safe crossings, so we can go to school safely and reclaim our streets for learning and play.
- We business owners want active transport infrastructure because bikes bring business. Pedestrians bring business. A healthy community means a healthy economy.
We stand united in issuing the following calls to action:
We call on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte to fulfill their campaign promise to make protected bike lanes permanent.
We call on the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Inter-Agency Technical Working Group on Active Transport (IATWG-AT) to enforce the National Transport Policy and President Marcos’s Philippine Development
Plan 2023 to 2028, which call for the construction of active transport infrastructure that prioritizes pedestrians, cyclists, and commuters.
We call on the DOTr and MMDA to implement as soon as possible the active transport projects worth P2 billion in 2022 and P705 million in 2023, which the movement has fought hard to achieve.
We call on the DPWH to implement their budget law which requires them to put active transport facilities in all P335 billion worth of road and bridge projects. We call on the DPWH to implement the requirement to allocate “at least fifty percent (50%) of the road space for public transport, pedestrians, and bicycles/light mobility devices rather than the throughput of private vehicles.”
We call on local government units to apply to the P9.2 billion Local Government Support Fund, to construct active transport infrastructure and green open spaces and public parks in their areas.
We call on our elected officials: House Representatives, Senators, City Mayors, Councilors, and Sangguniang Kabataan and Local Officials. Please listen to us, your constituents and voters. Pass laws and ordinances that ensure we have safe pathways and protected bike lanes.
We call on property developers in the business districts such as the Makati Central Estate Association, Inc. (MACEA): we are ready to meet and explore alternative designs to better protect the interests of commuters, cyclists, and pedestrians.
We call on all fellow road users: Join us in our public demonstrations to show our leaders our collective force for good. Let us continue to stand in solidarity with one another.
We stand ready as citizens and taxpayers to fulfill our civic duty, to meet you, engage in dialogue and collaboration on these calls to action that to us are a matter of life and death.
Protected bike lanes protect us all. Let us protect our bike lanes. Let us protect one another.
Organizations that signed the petition includes: Move As One Coalition, Grab Cyclists’ Union, Bicycle Friendly Philippines, Pinay Bike Commuter Community, Electric Kick Scooter Philippines (EKSPH), Women Bikers for #SafeSpaces,Renacimiento Manila, AltMobility PH, MNL Moves, 350 Pilipinas, Oh Yeah Cycling Club (OYCC), The Climate Reality Project Philippines, Ilog Pasiglahin,Tambay Cycling, HubFirst Bike Ride PH,Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment,Conyo Biker,Firefly Brigade,Tiklop Society of the Philippines,Meet & Ride (M&R),Bisikleta Pilipinas Coalition,Solving Traffic in the Philippines,Mobile in MNL,South Coffee Trading,BikeMarleys, Cycling Matters, Coffee Crew Cycling Club (CCCC), Manila Commuter, SiklisTara Na!, Daily Cycle Movement, PARA – Advocates for Inclusive Transport, Living Laudato Si’ Philippines, PANALIPDAN! Mindanao, Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines, Balentong Buddies, Panatang Luntian Coalition, Padjakeros Grand Pasig, Council for People’s Development and Governance, Sakay.ph, Center for Environmental Concerns -Philippines Inc., BikeWrench PH, Manila Bike Commuter, Akbay Pedal, QCKlista, Esteban Cycling Community (ECC), Padyak Manila, Groundwork Cycling, Bike and Break Fast Café, Metro Naga Active Transport Community, Greenpeace Philippines, Darlings Levi and Sara, Zapata Brothers Bikers Club , Ateneo de Manila SOSE Sanggunian, Bambike, GoodGovPH, Bamboo Bikes Philippines, The Ateneo Assembly, Akbay Pedal Mandaluyong, Green Party of the Philippines, Bayanihan Para sa Kalikasan Movement Inc, and Aksyon Kalikasan