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Pasig, San Juan hold bike ride event

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Two of Metro Manila’s most bike-friendly cities launched a bike ride on Sunday, Oct. 2, to boost climate change awareness and transition to 100 percent renewable energy through cycling, according to a report by Manila Bulletin.

In a set of photos posted on his Facebook page, Pasig City Councilor Quin “Kin” Cruz said the bike ride, dubbed as “Pedal for People and Planet,” coincides with 24 other cycling events in eight Asian countries which are all promoting cycling as a more environment-friendly mode of transportation. He added that around 1,000 cyclists from all around the metro participated in the bike ride.

“In the Philippines, the bike ride was held in nine provinces with routes that included sites of proposed coal and LNG plants. One of which is the 10km bike ride from San Juan to Pasig,” Cruz said.

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The councilor said that the event from San Juan to Pasig City was organized by Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development together with the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, Greenpeace Philippines, 350 PHILIPPINES, The Climate Reality Project Philippines, Firefly Brigade, Siklista Pilipino, Manila Water, Pasig Transport, Traffic and Parking Management Office of Pasig (T.P.M.O – Pasig City), and the Office of Coun. James Yap of San Juan City.

The Pasig City local government continues to promote cycling and responsible bicycle riding to the public since the pandemic started.

On Sept. 22, the city government and the Department of Education (DepEd), distributed bicycles and safety gears to public school students and teachers as part of the celebration of World Car-Free Day.

Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto and DepEd Undersecretary Kris Ablan led the distribution of the bikes to 20 Grade Seven to Senior High School students and 10 teachers of the Rizal High School.

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The city also introduced Car-Free days in some city streets where motor vehicles are prohibited. It also encouraged the people to engage in outdoor activities such as walking, jogging, and cycling.

On May 22, Lopez Jaena Street in Barangay Sumilang started to become a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly area every Sunday to compensate for the lack of open spaces in the city. The “People’s Street” initiative was made through the efforts of the barangay council of Sumilang and the Pasig City Transport Development and Management Office (CTDMO).

Recognizing Sunday as a “car-less day,” only pedestrians, bicycles, and light personal mobility devices may enter the street from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This allows residents to have freedom and the space to conduct their outdoor activities such as strolling, bonding with friends and family, or even holding Zumba sessions. It also serves as a playground for children where they can roam safely without the dangers posed by vehicles.

Other than Lopez Jaena Street, Emerald Avenue in Barangay San Antonio, Pasig City is also a well-known People’s Street that is open to the public.

In the month of April, Sotto and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – National Capital Region (DENR-NCR) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on the implementation of a Climate Resilient and Localized Urban Greening Plan (CRLUGP).

The CRLUGP aims to integrate and develop green spaces in highly-urbanized localities through multi-sectoral exchanges of resources and expertise.

The plan seeks to respond to the challenges posed by the climate crisis such as extreme weather conditions that have led to an increase in typhoons in the country, as well as pollution and destruction of ecosystems.

Through the CRLUGP, the DENR-NCR will assist the local government in determining focal areas to establish green spaces within the city. It will provide the affiliated sectors of the local government with seedlings, planting materials, and technical assistance, along with ornamental plants and trees to aid in fostering these green spaces.

Sotto stressed the urgency of the issues presented by climate change, and stressed the local government’s commitment in environmental protection and conservation.

“Ito’y isa sa mga bagay na ayaw natin pagusapan, o tingin natin matagal pa ‘yan…Kung hindi natin pagtutuunan ng pansin ito, sooner rather than later mabibigla na lang tayo na ganito na pala ang effect [ng pollution, climate change]. Kailangan ngayon pa lang, pagtuunan na natin ng pansin ang ating kalikasan ([Climate change] is one of the things we don’t talk about or we delay discussions on…If we don’t address it, sooner rather than later, we will be caught unprepared by its effects. We need to conserve our environment as early as now),” Sotto said.

For its part, San Juan City also promoted cycling as an alternative mode of transportation with the construction of new bike lanes and the launching of cycling-oriented programs and initiatives.

“As someone who bikes around the city myself, I know the importance of protecting cyclists from fast-moving cars and trucks, that is why we put up these bike lanes. Biking is also a cleaner and healthier alternative in the crawling traffic of Metro Manila,” San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora said during a cycling event in 2021.

Aside from the bike lanes, the city government also passed an ordinance that focuses on bike safety protocols.

San Juan also partnered with PNB-Allianz to construct the city’s first solar-powered bike pit stop along Pinaglabanan Street.

Yellow street lights were also replaced with bright white LED lights to help bikers and residents who ride around the city at night.

In 2020, San Juan City was awarded the Gold Award by the Mobility Awards for the city government’s efforts in promoting biking and installing infrastructure to protect bikers.

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