Photo by Nadia Cruz
QUEZON CITY, August 22, 2023 – Nearing the end of the nomination period for this year’s Mobility Awards, the awards’ convenors urge all cities in the Philippines – especially those who were previously recognized for their leadership in providing safer, more inclusive streets – to heed the call of the majority of Filipinos to prioritize the movement of people over cars.
On behalf of the Mobility Awards convenors, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) inclusive urban mobility advisor and MNL Moves founder Aldrin Pelicano said:
“The post-pandemic return to normalcy has unmasked a truth that we can not ignore: cycling is not the culprit behind traffic congestion; it is predominantly caused by our overdependence in driving motorized vehicles. As we envision a future where cities thrive with cleaner air, inclusive mobility, and enhanced livability, it is imperative that we prioritize reliable, clean, sustainable, and inclusive modes of transport.
“Recent decisions made by city governments, such as the removal of bollards in bicycle lanes, have raised serious concerns regarding the safety and well-being of cyclists and pedestrians in cities around the Philippines. The latest data from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) clearly suggests that a growing community of cyclists is using our roads as everyday transport. The removal of safe passages for cyclists not only hampers their ability to move around, but also places them in greater danger. This contradicts the commitment and shared vision of the Mobility Awards and past city winners to supposedly prioritize the mobility needs of the majority and promote sustainable urban living. The decision to remove bollards must be met with stronger proactive measures to protect cyclists and pedestrians, such as implementing slower speed limits, observing safe space for non-motorists to prioritize access, and allocating wider sidewalks for pedestrians. Unless these strategic measures are in place, abrupt removals of segregated bollards and other safety facilities endangers non-motorists on our roads.
“Cities that have previously stood out during the first and second year of the Mobility Awards for their commitment to people-centric mobility have an unparalleled opportunity to inspire and lead. In light of these developments, we urge cities, particularly those who have previously been recognized as Mobility Awards awardees, to step up and set a positive example by providing inclusive, cleaner transport options for hardworking Filipinos.
“While we call on cities to step up, we also urge Filipinos to challenge your local leaders and governments. Nominate deserving and forward-looking cities, business establishments and workplaces, and demand others to level up their bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly initiatives. Cities should empower its people to move freely, conveniently, and safely, allowing citizens to become more productive and provide safely and generously for their families. Nominating your city for the Mobility Awards is more than just a recognition of your efforts – it is a commitment to a better, safer, and brighter future for all.”
The Mobility Awards, led by its convenors ICSC, The Climate Reality Project Philippines, 350 Pilipinas, MNL Moves, and Pinay Bike Commuter Community, also organized Bilang Siklista, a citizen-led national bicycle count held in major cities nationwide that aims to provide evidence-based justification for investing in better bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Results from this year’s count will be published on September 22.
Meanwhile, this year’s installment of the Mobility Awards will end its nomination period on September 7, and will announce the awardees for 2023 in October. Visit https://www.mobilityawards.ph/ for more information.
Sanafe Marcelo, ICSC: firstname.lastname@example.org, +63968 886 3466, +63917 149 5649