n it first opened, the Bacolod-Silay Airport Access Road was a major convenience. It offered motorists a clean straightaway from Bacolod City to the Bacolod-Silay Airport, bypassing the heavily-congested roads cutting through Talisay City and Silay City, along with avoiding the narrow side roads drivers are forced to use when trying to get to the airport.
As the years have gone by, residential developments are beginning to spring up and long-overdue streetlamps were also erected. However, the roadway, while still a convenience, is also becoming a major hazard.
Despite the aforementioned streetlamps lining the road, they are almost never used and, even when lit, they still provide very little light. There have also been those involved in apparent collisions that have yet to be repaired and the broken post remains along the side of the road for drivers to observe as they pass.
There are also the odd ways in which the lines are painted, with different lanes arbitrarily merging into one another; intersections forcing bottlenecks; and (worse yet) the lanes where, if followed correctly, a driver may end up on the wrong side of the road.
In addition to the lanes themselves, there is also the matter of how they are painted; colors, which indicate direction, seem completely random, and the style of lines utilized appear accidental.
How did it end up like this? Is it a lack of coordination between the localities the road drives through? Entering and exiting each city, it appears the road takes on a completely different face. If that’s the case, it’s sad to see something as basic as a straight road cannot be managed properly.
Lanes leading drivers astray
One of the major issues when having to use the Bacolod-Silay Airport Access Road is the way in which the lanes are painted.
For instance, there is no indication of the designated lanes when approaching an intersection; it would seem those in charge are under the assumption everybody is automatically familiar with the road – while it doesn’t say much for their expectations of visitors from outside the city or province, it also cannot be expected that locals will always aware of how the road is laid out.
At intersections, the left lane is designated for left turns, while the right is marked for those going straight or turning right; yet, often times, cars end up in the left lane and are forced to merge at the intersection because there was no notice on how the lanes are set up. In addition, there are also the multitudes who, when nobody is making a left turn, use that lane to speed up and dangerously overtake other vehicles.
There is also the issue of the color and style of lanes painted.
To be honest, after reviewing RA 4136, or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, there is nothing in the policy that disseminates what lane colors or lines mean. While it may be an excuse for those responsible for such matters (they can claim ignorance), why are they using such a variety of styles if they are not aware of its significance? Is it solely based on seeing such lines used elsewhere that it seemed like a good idea to implement it along the Bacolod-Silay Airport Access Road?
Considering how lanes have been painted, it is clear, whoever planned it out has no idea what the markings mean.
In order to provide a spectrum of data, reviewed information from the US Department of Transportation-Federal Highway Administration; VicRoads, a traffic division of the Victoria state government in Australia; and the Ministry of Transportation for Ontario in Canada.
In both the US and Canada, they note, “A two-lane roadway is shown with a centerline marking of a broken yellow line.” Additionally, the Ontario government specifies: “Yellow lines separate traffic travelling in opposite directions; white lines separate traffic travelling in the same direction.” In terms of the Victoria government, they only note a “broken white line down the middle.” However, since both yellow and white lines appear along the Bacolod-Silay Airport Access Road, it must have originated from American and Canadian policies.
Yet, between Bacolod City and Silay City, yellow lines are not consistently used; sometimes there are yellow lines, sometimes white, sometimes none at all. Where is the continuity?
Also, in terms of using yellow to denote the direction of traffic, the makeshift bike lanes painted across the city (the ones that cut the size of the right lane in half) are also colored yellow. Does that mean the direction of the bike lane is opposite its adjacent lane?
All three agencies also note the use of double lines (no crossing), broken lines with both a solid and dotted line (passing is only permitted in one direction), and plain dotted lines that indicate lanes. Every kind of line (in both yellow and white) can be seen when using the access road and, if one were to abide by internationally-recognized rules, there is bound to be an accident (if not already); especially, the portion of the road where, if followed correctly, drivers on the right side of the road, after a curve, suddenly find themselves on the left side of the road, driving against the flow of traffic – imagine that at night.
Rules by virtue of mimicry
Considering the Land Transportation and Traffic Code does not explicitly discuss lane color and type, given the fact that a variety of styles are being utilized along one strip of road, it can only be assumed it is being done out of mimicking something seen elsewhere – which is dangerous as the sheer confusion is bound to create accidents.
Yet, while the power-that-be seem so eager to superficially follow practices outside the country, the rules actually set down by the Philippine government continue to go ignored.
Chapter IV, Section 37 of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code states: “Every person operating a motor vehicle or an animal-drawn vehicle on a highway shall pass to the right when meeting persons or vehicles coming toward him, and to the left when overtaking persons or vehicles going the same direction.” More often than not, slow-moving vehicles are idling in the left lane and force others to pass on the right, or even drive against traffic, simply due to their refusal to give way for others.
Section 42 of the same chapter indicates: “When two vehicles approach or enter an intersection at approximately the same time, the driver of the vehicle on the left shall yield the right of way to the vehicle on the right.” In real life, regardless of position, drivers almost always speed up and force themselves into the road in order to enter first – it was as if they had no brakes and were unable to stop.
With so many policies written up in the Land Transportation and Traffic Code going ignored on a daily basis, it is even worse seeing how local governments disregard that fact and sloppily borrow rules from other countries without understanding its basis.
The only thing city governments do when it comes to traffic is to blame it on the number of vehicles on the road. That definitely plays a part but, when these vehicles are forced to operate on roads that are sloppily arranged and managed, that only exacerbates the problem./WDJ