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Traffic measures in DLSU

The recent installation of new traffic lights along Taft Avenue has raised questions regarding its effectiveness in controlling the increasing traffic problem.

Congestion in Taft Avenue has always been a concern for many; the installation of more traffic lights along this road is one attempt to fix the problem.

The effectiveness of these traffic measures is still, however, inconclusive due to the many different opinions on the initiative.

Atty. Gonzalez, Director for Traffic Operations of MMDA, explains that the intended effectiveness of such installations is not realized due to the common Filipino psyche.

“Filipino pedestrians and motorists tend to be very stubborn,” Atty. Gonzalez expounds. He furthers, “In the case of obeying traffic lights… Usually when it’s a yellow light, you’re supposed to slow down, but in the Filipino Psyche, it’s faster, faster!”

According to Gonzales, this common mentality has invited many accidents in the past. He cites that many pedestrians are stubborn in using their lane, citing that the simple use of an overhead pass has always been ignored for the sake of convenience.


On pedestrians and drivers

In an online survey released by The LaSallian, student respondents showed that the newly installed traffic lights along Taft have consistently regulated the flow of traffic.

Moreover, the survey reveals that many students are now using the lights as guides for vehicles, and for people in crossing the street.

Director of the Security and Safety Office (SSO) Dionisio D. Escarez explains that the lights are effective because they provide assurance and safety, and eliminate possible accidents. “We follow a certain signal [which dictates] when the student will have to cross the street,” says Escarez.

On the other hand, student reports show that the commands of the security guards are not always coordinated with that of the traffic lights, causing confusion among drivers and pedestrians, as well as frequent traffic jams. Students have also reported that many drivers do not follow the traffic lights.



Taft has had its fair share of road accidents and injuries in the past. There have been incidents of students being hit by motorists, which according to Escarez, justifies the installation of the new traffic lights.

With the installation of the traffic lights, Escarez hopes to greatly reduce the risks students face outside the University, and instill discipline in the students. He furthers that the initiative should address the growing volume of traffic along the University.


Of traffic lights and security guards

The implementation of the new traffic rules was also made to address increasing motorist complaints that the security guards were always prioritizing the pedestrians, making all the motorists stop for a single pedestrian.

The SSO has also taken steps to address the issue, informing the enforcers to follow the signals. Escarez argues though that the initiative would be a work in process; pedestrians and drivers have to get used to the new and synchronized system, eventually reducing a need for enforcers.

A student respondent, however, stressed the importance of the enforcers saying, “Sometimes, the flow of traffic can become so erratic that the traffic lights cannot fulfill its purpose.” Majority of the respondents of the aforementioned survey believe that the security guards would still be needed to assure safety. The student furthers that drivers tend to follow the rules if the guards are present.

Escarez stresses though that pedestrians and drivers would not need the assistance of security guards if many would follow the traffic rules. “We are still checking if removing security guards from the areas is feasible. The case is still under observation.”

Escarez concludes that there are no downsides to the installment because this was done for the improvement and safety of everyone. If the community does not follow the new system, the initiative would not benefit anyone.

In practice, Atty. Gonzalez explains that the commands of the security guards or traffic marshals on ground should have precedence especially in cases where pedestrians and motorists would not give in. He stresses that the enforcer has the intuition and human judgment that the traffic lights lack, which justifies their judgment.


Pros and cons 

Though the more systematic and organized traffic initiative would instill discipline amongst pedestrians and drivers, some believe that the installation would only cause congestion, heavy traffic, and confusion and inconvenience to drivers and pedestrians.


Execution and precedence

The government does not prescribe a standard distance to be followed in installing traffic lights, but the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) recommends that more traffic lights must be installed in densely populated areas to allow pedestrians to cross the streets.

Before installing the new traffic lights, Engr. Castillo, Asst. Director of the MMDA Traffic Engineering Center, explains that certain steps must be followed.

Engineers must first survey the area to make an inventory of it, recording structures and critical areas. The volume of traffic and the pedestrians involved are also considered. After the inventory, the engineering office needs to make an evaluation for the MMDA’s approval to start the installation.


How it started

The operation started before the opening of classes. DLSU initiated the proposal and coordinated with the MMDA. Operations were temporarily stopped for one week because the pedestrian crossing in front of McDonald’s Taft was not yet closed, triggering complaints from drivers. DLSU asked to have the pedestrian lane closed; thereafter, the operation resumed.


Justin Umali

By Justin Umali

Carina Cruz

By Carina Cruz

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