ADB to finance Metro Manila sidewalk construction

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), in collaboration with the Philippine government, is set to finance the construction of sidewalks in Metro Manila.

The ADB is said to provide $100 million in loans to implement the Greenways project in the Philippines. This would lead to the construction of elevated walkways for pedestrians, with the possibility of using them for bicycles as well.

ADB Director-General for Southeast Asia Ramesh Subramaniam said that they have selected six initial sites to launch the project and will discuss the plans with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Among the initial sites selected are North EDSA, Ortigas and Taft Avenue. Independent consulting firms are designing the elevated walkways.

“We are very optimistic about it. We are going to start small,” Subramaniam said as reported by The Philippine Star.

According to the director-general, the Philippine government is eyeing the completion of the initial phase of the project within the year, but the actual completion is more likely by 2020.

Metro Manila is known to be rigged with streets that are not pedestrian-friendly, except in newer developments and business centers. In the older sections, sidewalks are crowded with vendors.

Commuters, due to the congested sidewalks, fill the streets as they anticipate the public utility vehicles (PUVs). Sometimes they even board buses in the middle of main highways.

This has resulted in accidents that have caused injuries and deaths. In December last year, a man was pinned to death between two buses as he was trying to board one on EDSA in Guadalupe, Makati.

The Greenways project had been planned as early as 2014, with the Ortigas Central Business District targeted as the pilot area. It was meant to promote sustainable development goals on improving public health by encouraging walking and non-motorized transport as well as reducing air and noise emissions.

Greenways have been described as “activity corridors” for non-motorized transport that “create quality space for commercial exchange, health and recreation, and access to jobs and services.”

There are Greenway projects in places such as Seoul, South Korea; Hong Kong; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Guangzhou, China.

NEDA previously approved the demonstration Greenway project for implementation in 2015, connecting SM Megamall, Robinsons Galleria, Shangri-La EDSA Plaza and the Metro Rail Transit station in the area.

The ADB will provide the engineering design while the Philippine government will shoulder the funding for the civil works as well the financing.

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