Bill bans illegal use of sidewalks and public roads

By on September 30, 2014

Braving the Manila traffic situation (Photo courtesy of PanoBaMagBlog on WordPress)
Braving the Manila traffic situation (Photo courtesy of PanoBaMagBlog on WordPress)

MANILA — A lawmaker has filed a bill banning the use of sidewalks and public roads for parking, business, sport activities and other purposes inimical to the interest of pedestrians.

Rep. Al Francis Bichara (2nd District, Albay) said House Bill 4986 should penalize wrongful acts in the use of sidewalks and public roads, which are meant for the use and enjoyment of the general public.

Bichara said small businesses have used and occupied sidewalks leaving pedestrians with no choice but to walk by the roadside, exposing them to greater risks of bodily injury and even death.

Bichara said local residents and business establishments are using the streets as parking lots for their own vehicles, as well as their visitors and clients, thereby clogging the already narrow roads and impeding the free flow of traffic.

“It is of no secret that urban areas have become so congested that people tend to disregard order and do some things convenient to them which on a bigger scale contribute to disorder and chaos,” Bichara said.

“Adding to the already chaotic situation is the proliferation of public utility terminals because our roads are not built for such purposes and the taxpayers have all the right to complain,” Bichara added.

Bichara said traffic congestion in urban areas results 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, Bichara said.

The measure, to be known as the Sidewalk and Road Use Act, shall penalize the unlawful use of public roads for parking, business, public utility terminals and any other activity that tend to impede the free flow of traffic.

Under the bill, the local government units or any government agency shall not designate public roads as parking spaces or terminals for public utility vehicles, whether for free or for a fee.

Proper authorities may issue special permits for the temporary use of sidewalks for entertainment and leisure but in no case shall permits be issued allowing the use of sidewalks to conduct business like vulcanizing shops, repair shops, parking spaces, eateries, advertisement spaces, among others.

“It shall be unlawful for anyone to build any edifice, stall and other similar structures, put up any business and other forms of obstruction, leave garbage and other junk materials, engage in ambulant vending, and other acts that tend to impede or obstruct the use of side walks which are meant to service pedestrians,” Bichara said.

Under the measure, violators face a fine of P 10,0000. Vehicles parked illegally may be impounded and demolition of obstruction materials will be undertaken.