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Saturday, February 15, 2014

MMDA Proposes 4 Days School Week in Metro Manila During Construction Period

 MMDA Chairman Tolentino yesterday formally asked the Dept. of Education to consider his proposal to shorten the school week to 4 days as a solution to help reduce vehicular volume during the construction of 15 major road infrastructure in Metro Manila. While colleges and universities are shifting their academic calendars, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) wants to introduce a new kind of schedule covering elementary and high schools. In a letter to Dept. of Education Sec. Luistro, Tolentino stressed how the shortened school week can be beneficial, with the projected traffic delays, once the construction of roadworks begins. He said the proposed scheme has long been practiced successfully in several countries particularly the United States which resulted in lesser traffic congestion and reduced education and energy costs. Tolentino said 21 US States have been implementing the shortened school week scheme, which was implemented as early as the 1930's. These states include Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska and New Mexico. Tolentino said citing data from the US National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL). Tolentino pointed out that the shortened school week will not only help reduce vehicular and pedestrian volume in major thoroughfares but will also bring about significant reductions in transportation and education costs. It will also help improve morale and increased attendance by both students and teaching personnel. Driving along Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) at a speed of 10 to 15 Km/Hr. everyday during rush hours is not far from happening with the overlapping schedules of the 15 major infrastructure projects in Metro Manila, Tolentino said. He said 2 projects the Skyway 3 project and the NAIA Expressway Phase 2 will begin construction on Monday Feb. 17, 2014. With this projection motorists in Metro Manila would face heavier traffic volume and slower traffic speed in Metro Manila's main roads. Apart from the proposed 4 days school scheme, Tolentino also called on universities and colleges to adopt distance learning or "Open University" systems as a means to reduce commuter and vehicular traffic volume in major thoroughfares. Apart from the Skyway and NAIA other projects are also scheduled in the coming months. These are the Gil Puyat-Makati-Avenue-Paseo de Roxas underpass, the Sta. Monica-Lawton Avenue bridge, the CP Garcia Avenue-McKinley Hill ramp, the repair and asphalt overlay of Magallanes Interchange, the EDSA-Taft Avenue flyover, the MRT Line 3 LRT Line 1 extension common station, the LRT Line 2 East extension up to Masinag, the LRT Line 1 Extension (Cavite), EDSA-Roosevelt Ave. Interchange, the Espana Avenue-Lacson Avenue interchange, the repair and rehabilitation and improvement of South Superhighway Makati, the NLEX-SLEX connector road and the EDSA-West Avenue-North Avenue Interchange. Tolentino said Metro Manila has only 5,035 roadways and about 3,000 more needed. "For a 636 sq. Km Metro Manila, we need 8,000 Km of roadway. Seoul, South Korea has 636 sq. Km same as Metro Manila but their roadways are 8,000 Km." Tolentino said.     
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