Dear Mayor Benhur Abalos

4
Katrina Stuart Santiago

Katrina Stuart Santiago

I have lived in Mandaluyong most of my life, on the same street, in the same family compound. Which is to say that I have had you and your father—alternating with some ally or other periodically—as my city mayor all these years.

I’ve never voted for you, but neither have I had any reason to complain. I mostly keep to my side of the city and must say that you’ve handled our tiny patch of Mandaluyong quite well.

That is, despite development. Your city hall has been able to keep high rises from being built on the street where I live, a Zone 2 residential area. I am hopeful that the two developments on Samat Street, will not be unbelievable nuisances while they are being built, and as soon as they are ready for occupancy. I am hopeful because you seem to know what you are doing, respecting Mandaluyong residents’ right to live peacefully and safely in this city, as they keep homes they’ve lived in all their lives. At least until last month.

Was this about Christmas?
When I was younger, before the overpass was built, we could turn left into Samat Street from Shaw Boulevard. This is the easiest way to get to the streets within: King’s Road, Lopez-Rizal, Queen’s Road, and Calbayog, i.e., all of Barangay Highway Hills. When the overpass was built, it was understandable that city hall disallowed us from turning left on Samat: it did seem dangerous to stop at the foot of an overpass, even with one’s left signal light on.


We’ve lived with it all these years, going further down Shaw Boulevard from EDSA, to turn left into Old Wack-Wack Road and get to Samat from there.

Ah, but last December your Mandaluyong City Hall removed that left turn, too, Mayor Abalos. That is, if we come from EDSA and get on Shaw, we are disallowed from getting onto Old Wack-Wack to the streets where we live. Instead of a left turn, we’ve been given a detour. Instead of turning left from Shaw Boulevard, you have us turning in the opposite direction. We must turn right into Lee Street, go around until we hit Shaw Boulevard again, head again in the direction of EDSA, so we might turn right on Old Wack-Wack or Samat streets.

Which is to say that you have made it absolutely inconvenient, and horribly unfair to residents who live on streets connected to Samat Street, where they have to go down Shaw Boulevard twice – once from EDSA and once towards EDSA – before they can get home.

I had hoped this would be a failed Christmas season experiment. But a week into January 2014, and no dice. I’m still wasting gas going down Shaw from EDSA, and back again to get to the street where I live.

Is this about big business?
The other thing that coincided with this decision to disallow us from turning left on Old WackWack from Shaw Boulevard was the opening of grocery giant S&R, where the old Cherry Foodarama used to be. It’s obvious that the detour you provided for us through Lee Street was really for people who were wanting to go into S&R – not only are there signs pointing to S&R on that detour, you’ve also disallowed people from turning left into S&R from Shaw.

Now that does make sense, if one is to consider that S&R’s members only set-up ascertains a shopping populace that arrives in their own vehicles. Waiting for them to turn left into the grocery’s premises would mean heavy traffic on both sides of Shaw.

What does not make sense is why along with S&R, we have been disallowed from turning left into Old Wack Wack from Shaw. It’s a whole street away from S&R and all those commercial areas along Shaw, and has never caused traffic. Also, vehicles on the opposite side of Shaw, moving towards EDSA, are allowed to turn left into Old Wack-Wack where the fancy residences are.

Don’t tell me that they deserve better than we do, that they deserve the convenience of getting to their homes easily and we don’t. That’s just unfair.

Paano naman kami?
I am sure your good office has the numbers to prove that this new scheme has meant less traffic on Shaw Boulevard, Mayor Abalos, but my experience of it is different. Traffic has never been this bad. It can’t be the businesses that now line either side of Shaw Boulevard – we’ve had many of it all this time.

The traffic has gotten worse precisely because of this no left turn on Shaw Boulevard rule. That detour that brings us back on Shaw towards EDSA, just means heavy traffic on that side of the road, but also on the tiny streets of that detour.

Which is to ask: why are we, old residents of Mandaluyong, on this side of Samat Street and Highway Hills being made to waste gas, time and energy to get to our homes, while everybody else can go on using the roads as they always have? Unless your city hall is disallowing any and all vehicles on either side of Shaw Boulevard from crossing the street, this just feels like you’re picking on us, the residents who aren’t in fancy homes and buildings, the ones who aren’t in commercial complexes.

Give us back the routes that made going home to Mandaluyong a wonderful thing, Mayor Abalos. Give us back our left turns. Shaw Boulevard will be the better for it.

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4 Comments

  1. I dunno if thats MMDA’s responsibility or the city gov’t, in any case, its inconsiderate management just bec. Samat and the other small side streets aren’t major arteries.

  2. yes mr Abalos , why not fix the sidewalks near star mall/edsa and along shangla mall to lourdes school, the central mall to edsa..
    so terrible of shape some places only 1 person can walk . you claim to be a “friendly”caring mayor. then show it.

  3. Ranie de Guzman on

    From Shaw coming from Pasig, turn left on EDSA, right on Libertad/D M Guevarra, which will lead you to Samat. That’s shorter and less congested than by Shaw/Lee.

    • You are right, Ranie de Guzman, but you have to contend with the traffic at EDSA, MOST OF THE TIME. Compare the two routes, in terms of time to take to the same point.